Walking through the “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution” exhibition at the National Geographic Museum can feel decidedly otherworldly.
Part of it is the backdrop: lush foliage in exotic rain forest canopies and a surrounding of dank green. But mostly it’s the birds, in all their preening excess, that make visitors feel as though they’ve landed in some groovy 1970s disco — birds with blue feet and green iridescent faces. They’ve got swirls on their backsides, which they know how to shake. They hop from foot to foot or — bam! — suddenly transform their plumage into a shape like a comet or a trippy psychedelic smile.