[Music playing] [Life’s A Stage] [Two male and two female birds-of-paradise are near the forest floor.] [Starring the incredible Birds-of-Paradise] [A male bird-of-paradise performs his ballerina dance.] [Truly a wonder of nature!] [And the greatest show in the animal kingdom!] [Another bird-of-paradise shakes what looks like a pom-pom, then quickly turns the other way.] [Our story begins deep in the jungles of the South Pacific] [where every young performer gets his start.] [A male bird-of-paradise performs a dance for a female, by moving his wings back and forth in front of his body, moving his head in time, and opening his beak.] [Another bird-of-paradise puffs up his feathers so he appears triangular.] [Of course, even the biggest stars must practice the art of the dance.] [A male bird-of-paradise bounces up and down on a tree branch, then brings his very long head feathers around to the front and back.] [Another male bird-of-paradise keeps his feet in place, but moves his body back and forth with his wings out.] [Theater can be a lonely business.] [Male bird-of-paradise performs alone.] [Another male bird-of-paradise appears to fall during his performance.] [But practice makes perfect.] [A male bird-of-paradise performs his ballerina dance.] [And perfection pays off.] [A male bird-of-paradise bows.] [Clapping] [Please excuse us while we clear the stage for the final act!] [Various male birds-of-paradise clear leaves off their stages.] [Concessions are available in the lobby.] [Various birds-of-paradise eating fruit.] [And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…] [The dance!] [Birds-of-paradise perform their dances.] [The ladies arrive and take their seats.] [Female birds-of-paradise looking on.] [To win their hearts, the dancers must give their best performance.] [A male bird-of-paradise dances for several females.] [Hmmm, that doesn’t seem to be working. Perhaps something else.] [The male changes his dance.] [Ummm…that’s not working either. Got any other moves?] [He performs a longer, more elaborate dance for the females, who seem more interested.] [That seems to do the trick.] [Now let the real fun begin!] [Various birds-of-paradise displaying.] [Clapping] [In the end, it’s all about love!] [Birds-of-paradise mating.] [Sort of.] [Birds-of-paradise mating.] [The End] [Explore more at birdsofparadiseproject.org, youtube.com/LabofOrnithology]

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Though the birds aren’t doing their displays for entertainment value, they have to hone their techniques as much as any human performer, spending hours practicing and maintaining their display courts. In this light-hearted piece we’ve added a musical accompaniment to several birds-of-paradise displays. Will all the dancing pay off? You’ll just have to watch. Filmed and photographed by Tim Laman. Explore more at www.birdsofparadiseproject.org 

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