Take a journey to New Guinea and an exotic world with Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution, a new exhibition at theChicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum opening January 18. Featuring the extravagant plumage, crazy courtship dances and bizarre behaviors of the extraordinary birds, the exhibition is born out of the groundbreaking research of National Geographic photographer Tim Laman and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Edwin Scholes’ work studying these birds. The exhibition will run through June 17.
For 160 years, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has connected people to the environment and natural world through education, science and timely exhibits. Birds of Paradise helps museum visitors discover more about the lives and habits of these remarkable species through games and hands-on activities.
“Through engaging games and fun, hands-on activities, Birds of Paradise takes our visitors deep into the New Guinea rainforest and brings these extravagant birds to life,” said Deborah Lahey, President and CEO “Every exhibition at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is designed to create a closer connection between our community and the fascinating flora and fauna that surrounds us, making Birds of Paradise a perfect addition to our lineup of guest experiences.”
Equal parts natural history, photography and science exhibition, Birds of Paradise gives visitors an in-depth look into the lives of birds-of-paradise. Visitors will be greeted with natural soundscapes, traditional wood carvings and a montage of the dozens of birds-of-paradise species. Inside the exhibit, guests can:
- Challenge their friends to a bird-like dance-off in “Dance, Dance Evolution,” which encourages players to replicate the bizarre courtship dances that the males perform to attract the females.
- Witness the transformations these species undergo to attract their mates through photos, videos, specimens and sculptures
- Put themselves in the shoes a National Geographic photographer, testing their camera trigger fingers and trying to catch speedy birds on camera, while navigating tree branches to get the best shot.
- Discover maps and diagrams of the birds’ ranges across New Guinea that showcase how the country’s environment encouraged the birds to adapt and evolve over time.
- Explore old and new scientific knowledge about the birds-of-paradise, including previous misconceptions, vintage illustrations and information on how the giants of evolutionary studies, including Charles Darwin, were fascinated by the birds.
- Play interactive games to learn how sexual selection works, and download the Species Atlas app which offers information on all birds-of-paradise species.
Since their partnership began in 2004, Laman and Scholes have been dedicated to documenting and understanding the lives of birds of paradise. During 18 expeditions over eight years, the two were able to capture photographs, videos and detailed observations of these important species of birds. Known for their unique looks and mating rituals, the birds of paradise are a prime example of sexual selection and are surely one of the most elegant examples of extreme evolution on Earth. The birds are found in one of the most untarnished environments in the world: the remote rain forests of the New Guinea region.
In addition to the Birds of Paradise exhibition that takes visitors on a journey to New Guinea, the Nature Museum will also be showcasing some live, loud and beautiful macaws, stunning aracari, exotic serama chickens and native bobwhite quails featured in a special exhibit, The Bird House, for a limited time:
- Blue-throated Macaw and Blue and Gold Macaw – January 2-17
- Serama Chickens and Bobwhite Quails – January 18 – March 19
- Blue-headed Macaw and Ivory-billed Aracari – March 21 – June 18
Birds of Paradise was co-developed by National Geographic and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
About the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum serves as an urban gateway to nature and science. Located in an eco-friendly building amidst abundant wildlife and nature in Lincoln Park, interactive exhibitions allow visitors of all ages to connect with regional wildlife and public programs that inspire green living and sustainability. With a history that spans 160 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ conservation efforts study, explore and protect urban wildlife and the unique natural history of the Great Lakes region. Today, collaborative conservation programs include citizen science initiatives and habitat restoration. Our education department provides more hours of hands-on teaching inside the Nature Museum – and in schools throughout the city – than any Museum in Chicago. For more information, visit naturemuseum.org or call 773-755-5100.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. We support educators to ensure that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. We aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.
About the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is nonprofit, member-supported organization with the mission to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Founded in 1915, the Lab is supported by 50,000 members and engages 200,000 citizen-science participants and 6 million bird enthusiasts who connect online at www.allaboutbirds.org. As a proud unit of Cornell University, the Lab has a leading team of faculty, educators, conservation scientists, and engineers continuing a strong history of excellence in science, technological innovation, and outreach. Learn more at www.birds.cornell.edu.
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