DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
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