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Science Wednesdays: Birds of the Gods

Tue, 08/20/2013 - 10:22am -- WCVE

Living in the depths of the New Guinean rainforest are birds of unimaginable color and beauty. When Europeans first saw the plumes of these fabulous creatures in the 16th century, they believed they must be from heaven and called them birds of paradise.

The people of New Guinea make even greater claims. They say the birds possess supernatural powers and magic. But to find these birds in New Guinea is one of the toughest assignments, and to witness their extraordinary mating displays is even tougher.

David Attenborough introduces a young team of New Guinean scientists on a grueling expedition to find and film these Birds of Paradise; the holy grail of wildlife filmmakers.

Watch Nature: Birds of the Gods Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS.

Nature follows local biologists and conservationists, Miriam Supuma and Paul Igag, into the dense, mosquito-ridden forests in their quest to document the mating behaviors of several exceptional and elusive birds of paradise. Their work gives us new insights into the habits and population health of the different species. Working with local tribes, they research which birds of paradise are most in need of protection, and the team is able to work toward curbing the hunting practices that put these delicate birds at risk.

Don’t miss the strange, beautiful antics of a family of birds so remarkable, they truly do seem to be visitors from paradise.