Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lyre birds rock



Today, I'm sharing the most amazing vocalist 
I've ever met...not in person...but on you tube.


The Australian Lyre Bird.

While a long, skinny-legged, dull grey bird from the front view, the side view is far more attractive.


He can twist that plumage over his head with ease. They come in two specie sizes: Large and a bit smaller, or technically called  Superb and Albert's. Superb is well defined, so I'll explain Albert's. The lesser size and less impressive version was named after Queen Victoria's husband, who was only a Prince. Albert should have been insulted.
  
Here's a female Albert's lyrebird: Hardly looks like the same species). The female can make sounds but it's not even close to the complexity of the male. But why should she? It's his job to impress her, not the other way around. Yep, they are the exact opposite of humans. The male goes on and on about everything he's heard and spends his time trying to catch a lady's eye with plumage and song. The female prefers to camouflage herself to her surrounding and keep an eye out for danger. Since their wings are too small, they don't fly. They walk and run. The only time they will attempt flight is when going down a steep hill, which they do rather like a hang glider. 

A male will have around eight girlfriends and has nothing to do with raising his kids. Raising chicks is a female's job. He's a musician. Seriously, how many rock stars do you know who actively raise their kids. 

Not to worry, the lady Lyre drops an egg and sits on it for 50 days until it hatches, and then she alone protects and raises it. 


However, what sets the Lyre bird out among the other birds is his fabulous ability to replicate any sounds he hears. And since they've found fossils of the bird from 15 Million years ago, this bird has, through time, seen and heard a great deal. They have been known to mimic gun shots, camera noise, chainsaws, the clearing of brush, car alarms, sirens, Star war lasers, about twenty other birds, and what sounds like a monkey to me, but could be the sound of another bird who sounds like a monkey. Then there was also a man who lived in the forest and played his flute, and now his songs are played in flute tone by some Lyre birds. 


I'm not sure if the first Lyre bird I present, whom I'm calling him Hans Solo, came upon children with toy star war guns, or if Star Wars stole the sounds from the Lyre bird. It's impressive either way. 




The sounds this Lyre bird below displays at the end are much sadder. He's telling the story of his prior homes demise.



The Lyre bird lives about 30 years, so it can pass along it's many songs to young Lyre birds if it wishes. However, generally speaking, the males do not gather around a campfire and share songs. They stake out their own areas and defend it and their girlfriends from other males.  I can just imagine two lyre birds facing it off. One shooting laser guns, the other shooting a rifle. 

And here's the most amazing fact. The Lyre bird is NOT endangered.....yet. (Let's face it, we are all endangered. However, given the Lyrebird actually made it through the last global warming and freeze cycle, it might yet survive beyond us.

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