Tim Laman Uncovers the Secret Life of Birds
    2011-05-23 16:15:03     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
Since 2004, wildlife photographer Tim Laman has been working to document the habits of all the birds of paradise, and has spent nearly one year in total doing field research in the jungles of New Guinea.

Tim Laman is a wildlife photographer and field biologist working to photograph and document the habits of 39 species of birds in New Guinea. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com]

Tim Laman talks about his field work on the "Birds of Paradise" project in front of an audience of photography and wildlife enthusiasts in Beijing on May 20, 2011. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com]

By Angela Pruszenski and Duan Xuelian

Deep in the rainforests of New Guinea lies a secret world of birds. These birds (of a family called the "birds of paradise") and their way of life have largely escaped documentation by scientists. Since 2004, wildlife photographer Tim Laman has been working to document the habits of all the birds of paradise, and has spent nearly one year in total doing field research in the jungles of New Guinea.

The birds of paradise cover 39 species of birds, most of whom live deep in the New Guinean rainforests. The birds are particularly known for the males' colorful appearance and long, elaborate feathers. The males typically dance and display their feathers for the females as part of the mating ritual. "The females are very choosy," Laman says of the ritual. "They will visit many different males before they choose a mate."

Tim Laman is a wildlife photographer and field biologist with an enthusiasm for documenting lesser-known wildlife. In addition to working as a research associate in the ornithology department at Harvard University, he has been a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine since 1997.

The goal of the birds of paradise project is to photograph the habits of all 39 species, conduct a field study of the species, and to promote the conservation of New Guinea's rainforests. Some of the birds in paradise have never been photographed in their natural habitats; past studies have focused on the birds in captivity. "I'm trying to capture images that will convey both the personality and characteristics of the species, but also the place, the habitat, and the issues surrounding that," he explains.

The first part of the project was documented in the July 2007 issue of National Geographic. To date, he has photographed 36 of 39 species. The final two field expeditions are planned for this year. Part two of the project will appear in a 2012 issue of National Geographic and Laman also hopes to publish a book on the birds that same year. Between field expeditions, Laman also travels to lecture on his work, techniques, and the need for wildlife conservation, and he recently entertained an audience of photography and wildlife enthusiasts in Beijing.

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