Researchers’ Heartwarming Reaction to First Photos of Rare Bird Goes Viral

Photographers know the incredible feeling of nailing a shot that they perhaps only imagined possible — a photo they have been striving for for a long time. So, lensmen and lenswomen will be able to relate to these researchers’ reactions to capturing an ultra-rare pigeon.

In recent days, the heartwarming video has gone viral on Reddit but was filmed a few months back when it was reported that the black-naped pheasant-pigeon had been documented for the first time since 1882.

In the footage, Jordan Boersma hands the trail camera used to capture the rare pigeon over to his colleague Doka Nason.

“Maybe just hit the side arrow,” says Boersma. When his fellow scientist presses the button, he immediately swivels his head and sits down as he struggles to take in what he is seeing.

After a few expletives and delighted facial expressions, Nason stamps his foot in elation shouting “We did it!” as he struggles to contain his excitement.

“Man, this is the happiest f***ing day ever,” exclaims Nason as he high-fives Boersma. Immediately afterward, the pair do what any photographer would do; look at the prized images one more time.

“Their excitement is quite exciting,” writes one Redditor. “Props on the cameraman for revealing it in the best way possible to one of the few people who would appreciate it just as much as himself,” adds another.

Reason to be Excited

Not only had the black-naped pheasant-pigeon not been seen since its discovery in 1882, but it was also the first time that the elusive bird had been captured on camera.

The bird only lives on Fergusson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago and the research team was on the island for a month, using a remote camera trap to catch a glimpse of it.

“When we collected the camera traps, I figured there was less than a one-percent chance of getting a photo of the Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon,” says Boersma, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University and co-leader of the expedition team. “Then as I was scrolling through the photos, I was stunned by this photo of this bird walking right past our camera.”

The discovery was shared through the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and John C. Mittermeier, Director of the Lost Birds program at ABC and co-leader of the expedition, says it felt like finding a unicorn.

Image credits: Feature photo courtesy of Wild Birds of New Guinea.