Monday, November 29, 2010
Lyre birds are notoriously shy. Even if they are around most people won't realise it because they are one of the world's greatest mimickers. Not only do they mimick other bird's songs they can duplicate the sound of a chainsaw or drill, the thwack of hammer & nails, the car alarm, a transistor radio, & even the human voice. They really are astounding. They are almost never seen singly & never in groups.
On this particular day we were sitting quiely at a picnic table just enjoying the solitude when a group of young birds suddenly appeared frolicking & gamboling like the funniest of clowns. We were delighted & absolutely rivited. They were real show~offs! I don't know why but they had absoluely no fear of us & came right up to our table & were prancing all around us. Not even the arrival of more people frightened them off but though the others tried very hard to tempt them closer they remained round us until they went carousing off through the scrub as they chased each other over the hill & far away.
These amazing birds have been known to shelter in wombat holes or join miners down mine shafts when threatened by bush fires. Their syrinx is the most complexly muscled of any of the passerines [song birds] giving them extraordinary range & ability. Mr Wiki gives some extraordinary antedotal evidence about some of the sounds these birds are capable of & for your enjoyment I include this you~tube clip.