Herald Sun - Switched On - - Saturday -

OK, kind of niche, a show about stre­litzias, but the rat­ings are over, stranger things have hap­pened in TV. Any­way, I love stre­litzias, both sorts, the nor­mal blue and orange ones, and the much big­ger blue and white ones you can’t re­ally do any­thing with. The blue and orange flow­ers are very handy in a vase. And from some an­gles you re­ally can see how they got their nick­name bird of par­adise.

I was look­ing for­ward to this show,. but not to­tally sure how they could stretch it to 50 min­utes. But mainly I was just happy there was a pro­gram about stre­litzias on TV at all.

So why is David At­ten­bor­ough in front of me talk­ing about ac­tual birds?

He’s ex­plain­ing how ever since the first sci­en­tific ob­ser­va­tions of the bird of par­adise 150 years ago there have only been glimpses of them. So we could be in for a slow night . . . un­less you’re some­one who doesn’t mind sit­ting in one place with a pair of binoc­u­lars for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time.

Miriam Supuma’s like this. An ecol­o­gist from New Guinea, she’s concerned about bird num­bers, and when you see the

Feath­ered: a bird of par­adise. amount of feath­ers in the av­er­age dancer’s head­dress you’ll un­der­stand why. They look at­trac­tive but is it nec­es­sary?

There’s some 1957 footage of David At­ten­bor­ough in New Guinea, watch­ing a dance and es­ti­mat­ing the feath­ers of 20,000 dead birds of par­adise are on the blokes tak­ing part.

All the birds are gor­geous. Shame it’s in black and white. Miriam’s keen to track down the blue­bird of par­adise. It’s very vul­ner­a­ble, be­cause its feath­ers are much prized. Miriam and the late bird ex­pert Paul Igag aimed to doc­u­ment 10 types over three months and I think they must’ve, I lost count, I was so mes­merised by these birds’ style and beauty. Birds of Par­adise ABC1, 7.30pm

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