Birds of Paradise

From Manado, Sulawesi we took a 35 minute flight east to Helmahera Island. It is here where Asian fauna meets Australian fauna. Another short fight and we would be in Papua New Guinea and then Australia…so close!! Too bad we already bought a return ticket to the US. Helmahera is a beautiful, wild island in the Moluccas (spice islands) with several unique bird species. We saw wild White Cockatoos, several large parrots and a bird of paradise! The Wallace’s Standard Wing! Birds of Paradise are dressed in crazy costumes and perform crazy mating dances to attract females. To see the Standard Wing’s flight dance, we awoke at 4am and started down a dark trail with a non-English speaking guide. We arrive at the lek just before dawn and waited patiently for the show. Ten minutes later we heard the call and 2 birds were flitting about in the canopy above us! A green collar was flared and white standard wings were tossed about like streamers as he spun in the air from branch to branch. Such a jaw-dropping experience!
There are marsupials on the island as well. We saw a Cus-cus, which is kind of like a koala bear. So cute!
Tomorrow we are flying to Jakarta, Java. This is the last island we visit before departing for the US on April 2. We should be in Chicago April 4 at 9am! Thanks to everyone for following our journey!

Happy Birthday Mom!!! We love you and miss you tons!

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