Hornbills and Humans

Hornbills and HumansHere’s a program from our archives.ambience: HornbillsSometimes the affairs of animals remind us that we humans might have more in common with other creatures than we think. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. This time of year, in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, hornbill birds are making their nests in the hole of a tree, preparing for the day when their young will make a grand entrance into the world, much to the delight of local villagers.Kinnaird: The female begins to do something that only hornbills do, which is to create a seal in the front of her nest cavity. So after five or six days of making a seal, primarily out of her feces, she has a solid wall with only a slit down the middle, through which her mate will feed her and her growing chicks.Margaret Kinnaird and Tim O’Brien are Coordinators of the Indonesia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society.O’Brien: The hornbills emerge from the cavity, or their mother’s home, looking like males. Once they emerge, the father takes care of them, and they never go back to their mother’s home, the nest cavity.The bird’s behavior resonates with the customs of the Gimi people of Papua New Guinea. They see the hornbills as kind of a reflection of their own society.O’Brien: The Gimi are polygamous in that a man has several wives. And the men live in a house separate from the wives. The wives live in houses with their children, and when the children come of age, the boys leave their mother’s house and go to live in the men’s house. And this is a cause for great ceremony and celebration. And the Gimi men wear the head of the hornbill as a piece of jewelry on this occasion to recognize the relationship between their customs and the customs of hornbills.From the rainforests of Papua, New Guinea, I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Hornbills and Humans

Sometimes animals remind us we have more in common with them than we think.
Air Date:07/30/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

Hornbills and HumansHere's a program from our archives.ambience: HornbillsSometimes the affairs of animals remind us that we humans might have more in common with other creatures than we think. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. This time of year, in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, hornbill birds are making their nests in the hole of a tree, preparing for the day when their young will make a grand entrance into the world, much to the delight of local villagers.Kinnaird: The female begins to do something that only hornbills do, which is to create a seal in the front of her nest cavity. So after five or six days of making a seal, primarily out of her feces, she has a solid wall with only a slit down the middle, through which her mate will feed her and her growing chicks.Margaret Kinnaird and Tim O'Brien are Coordinators of the Indonesia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society.O'Brien: The hornbills emerge from the cavity, or their mother's home, looking like males. Once they emerge, the father takes care of them, and they never go back to their mother's home, the nest cavity.The bird's behavior resonates with the customs of the Gimi people of Papua New Guinea. They see the hornbills as kind of a reflection of their own society.O'Brien: The Gimi are polygamous in that a man has several wives. And the men live in a house separate from the wives. The wives live in houses with their children, and when the children come of age, the boys leave their mother's house and go to live in the men's house. And this is a cause for great ceremony and celebration. And the Gimi men wear the head of the hornbill as a piece of jewelry on this occasion to recognize the relationship between their customs and the customs of hornbills.From the rainforests of Papua, New Guinea, I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.