Lyrebird display, Dorrigo
Between the two waterfalls we heard him, the loudest bird in the rainforest. We crept along the path and there he was, brown back to us, on his raised patch of cleared ground, his performance area. His long golden lyre feathers spread horizontally and his thin feathers were raised vertically, and then he bent and brought his long tail feathers over his head showing their silvered undersides and shimmies. We couldn’t see any females watching.
His wild song was mimicking Whip Birds, Grey Shrike Thrush, Kookaburra and others I have forgotten, too excited, the display not seen clearly for many years. Their call to attract females is the songs stolen from other birds, but their own grinding mechanical chattering is territorial.
The show works well, their fossils go back 15 million years. I was surprised too because they usually display in winter months. He will have a dozen or so display mounds he will perform on in turn. My photographs were rubbish – here is David Attenborough with the famous account of lyrebirds imitating man made sounds.
But . . . ‘There is no known recording of a lyrebird in the wild mimicking man-made mechanical sounds.’ Hollis Taylor