Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal

Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years

Friday, June 16, 2006

For the Birds!

Though I don't consider myself an "animal person," I've always been fascinated by birds. The only pets my son ever had were 2 birds---ducks. (See my very first blog, "Four-legged Friends" from Feb 12.) Not a happy memory. But I digress.

Recently I received an exceptional link featuring the lyrebird and hosted by David/Richard(?) Attenborough. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you take a moment to watch it. Amazing!

Also, from Wikipedia re the charming painting above:

The lyrebird is so called because the male bird has a spectacular tail (consisting of 16 highly modified feathers (two long slender lyrates at the centre of the plume, two broader medians on the outside edges and twelve filamentaries arrayed between them), which was originally thought to resemble a lyre. This happened when a lyrebird specimen (which had been taken from Australia to England during the early 1800's) was prepared for display at the British Museum by a taxidermist who had never seen a live lyrebird. The taxidermist mistakenly thought that the tail would resemble a lyre, and that the tail would be held in a similar way to that of a peacock during courtship display, and so he arranged the feathers in this way. Later, John Gould (who had also never seen a live lyrebird), painted the lyrebird from the British Museum specimen.
Although very beautiful, the male lyrebird's tail is not as in John Gould's painting, nor is the tail held in such a manner. Instead, the male lyrebird's tail is fanned over the lyrebird during courtship display, with the tail completely covering his head and back.


  • At 6:43 PM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    I saw this! The part where he starts imitating machines just blew me away!

  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Savtadotty said…

    Lucy, thanks for this fascinating link. The bird's imitation of the camera shutter was most convincing! If I were a female lyrebird, I would consider him most eligible for my favors.

  • At 11:16 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said…

    I will come back and watch the video when I'm on my own laptop. I am using my son's right now, and it has no sound. Poo!
    I have never heard of the lyrebird.
    My dad is very much into birds. I will ask him if he has heard of this bird. He knows bird sounds and obsure bird facts.
    I have seen blue jays and gorgeous red cardinals here in AR. In CA, we don't have cardinals. They are so vibrant against the greenery here.

  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said…

    That video is fantastic! Thanks so much Lucy....I found it astonishing all the many other birds this bird can even imitating the peole sawing treees!! Wonderul post and wonderful bird!

  • At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Terri said…

    SUCH an interesting post with great information.
    The video was awesome! The camera sounds blew me away! It's amazing what this bird can do and how he sounds.
    Thanks for sharing this with us, Lucy.

  • At 9:19 AM, Blogger Bev Sykes said…

    I absolutely loved the video. In fact, it inspired me to start a whole new blog, "Look at These Videos,", posting YouTube videos that I've come across that I've really liked. Thanks for sharing!

  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous momma said…

    The film is now on it's way to all three of my grandkids, the hubby, daughter, and daughter-in-law. Thank you for sharing the gem Lucy!

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said…

    That is SOME bird! I am amazed. His tail looks so neat all fanned out over his head like that. I hope he attracted a fine female after all that work he did.
    If only he had a trunk monkey. He could have shown it to impress the females (like you said Jack did). :)

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Mike ( ex scientia, veritas ) said…

    My uncle's nose used to whistle like that when he'd fall asleep after big holiday meals. You could hardly hear the football game.

  • At 4:02 PM, Blogger Chancy said…

    I am absolutely astonished by your post of the video of the lyre bird.

    What a treat to hear him and his repertoire of sounds. He is even better than my all time favorite singer, "Tony Bennett"

  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Simply Coll said…

    Would you believe I had never heard of this bird before. What a lovely creature.. and the songs.. amazing.

  • At 6:32 AM, Anonymous claude said…

    I always thought the lyre bird was some sort of imaginary animal, Lucy. I learnt something today. Thanks!

  • At 6:36 AM, Blogger Endment said…

    Thank you for a delightful informative post and the link

  • At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Maria said…

    I knew nothing about this bird and was completely fascinated by the clip.

    Another artful mimicker is the more common Mockingbird. When I first moved into this house, my parrot used to like the cool mornings on the patio so I put her big cage out there. After a few days, I heard parrot noises similar to Josephine's from over the back fence. I went peeking over on each side, but I couldn't find the neighboring parrot or parrots. Then about a week later, I saw two mockingbirds at the backyard feeder and I knew who was making the parrot sounds.

    True to form, our parrots can also mimic well. We frequently run in to answer the phone only to find out it is Tweetie or Josephine's idea of a joke.

  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous joared said…

    Thanks for the link to this video, Lucy, as I'm quite interested in birds, had heard of the lyrebird but knew nothing about them really.

    Yes, I, too, am exposed to a bird that imitates other bird songs, as mentioned above, the Mockingbird.

    Recently, a beautiful western blue jay apparently lost her nest's eggs which I found broken, partially hatched under the bushes (I suspect the wicked crows.) For days, when I was in the midst of my own sadness, the female blue jay appeared regularly in my backyard calling to her missing loved ones as she walked on the ground along the hedge, first across the back and then the side yard, carefully peering under the shrubs in search of what she would never find.

    As she made her plaintive call, I began to realize that what motivated her to keep searching was a particular responsive repetitive peep she was receiving, which was being produced by a mockingbird. This went on for days before she finally gave up, or maybe realized the source.

    As if that wasn't enough for emphasizing sadness and loss, the wild kittens disappeared suddenly that I had observed coming into our yard, lovingly cared for by their equally wild mother, and to my surprise, receiving solicitous visits from their obvious father,

    The mother's cries with her daily visits searching for her kittens were heart wrenching. Perhaps, even more so, were the cries of the father, who showed up every afternoon at his usual visitation time, as he prowled the area looking for the kittens.

    This mother cat has avoided all efforts of anyone to capture her for a number of years, has had kittens, who eventually disappear, previously. This is the first time a male cat has ever appeared in this manner.

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