Speaker Series: Exploring New Guinea’s Lost Worlds and Elusive Birds of Paradise with Bruce Beehler

Doors open at 6:30 PM, Talk starts at 7:00 PM

In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Beehler will summarize the discoveries and experiences from his 70 trips to the great island of New Guinea over a 35 year period. Beehler spent more than 8 years in the rainforests of New Guinea, studying the birdlife, the rainforests, and especially the birds of paradise, the bird group he focused on for his doctoral and postdoctoral research at Princeton University and the Smithsonian Institution.

Beehler is a nature photographer, and his PowerPoint is enlivened by amazing images of birds, butterflies, orchids, rhododendrons, pythons, and more. The presentation features the highlights of several expeditions to the Foja Mountains of western New Guinea (which appeared on 60 Minutes). In this faraway mountain range Beehler’s field team discovered scores of species new to science—including a novel species of Honeyeater and a long-lost bird of paradise. The presentation also will discuss the discovery of the world’s first known “poisonous bird” – the Hooded Pitohui (a discovery made by Jack Dumbacher, a field student working with Beehler). The highlight of the presentation is Beehler’s discussion of the birds of paradise and their remarkable mating behaviors.

Speaker Bio:

Bruce Beehler is an ornithologist, conservationist, and naturalist. He is currently a Research Associate in the Division of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and conducts research and writing about nature and natural history.

Beehler has spent much of his scientific career studying and working to conserve birds and their forest habitats. After conducting doctoral fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Beehler worked for ten years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, followed by stints at the Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Department of State, Counterpart International, Conservation International, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Beehler is an elective Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union, and has served on the boards of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), RARE, and the Livingston-Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy. Currently, Beehler serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Rainforest Trust and is a Research Associate of the American Bird Conservancy.

Beehler has published thirteen books and authored more than a hundred  technical and popular articles about birds and nature. In 2007, Beehler was featured in a 60-Minutespiece highlighting an expedition he led to the Foja Mountains in the interior of New Guinea in which scores of new species of plants and animals were discovered. In 2016 Beehler received the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College for his conservation work in the Pacific. In 2017 Beehler received the Scientific Achievement Award from the National Museum of Natural History.

Today, Beehler carries out natural history studies and writing focused on wildlife and natural places in North America.

Beehler blog: https://birdsandnaturenorthamerica.blogspot.com

Beehler website: brucembeehler.wixsite.com/brucembeehler