People around the world seem to be captivated by Birds-of-Paradise! The five minute video introduction to Ed Scholes and my Birds-of-Paradise Project posted on YouTube on 10 October 2012 has reached 1,000,000 views today, 23 Jan 2013.
This video was produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Multimedia department’s Eric Liner and John Bowman using video material shot by me, Ed Scholes, and Eric Liner. Eric and sound recordist Ian Fein, who also contributed to the video, accompanied us on one of our expeditions to New Guinea in 2009 to gather material for this video.
Why has this video captured the interest of so many? The birds are spectacular, and their behaviors otherworldly, but I think a big part of it is the story of exploration. I think it surprises people that in this day, there are still places on the planet that harbor such spectacular creatures as the birds-of-paradise that remain relatively unexplored. Ed Scholes and I were able to be the first to document all 39 species of this famous family of birds in the wild. If we are just documenting such a extraordinary group of birds for the first time, just imagine all the other little-know life forms out there in the wilds of New Guinea and elsewhere that remain to be documented and studied!
It is our sincere hope that the Birds-of-Paradise project will inspire others to keep exploring our planet. There is much to discover, document, and protect.