Friday, May 20, 2011

There's nothing like a quick trip to Futility Closet to lift the spirits of a blogger who finds himself a little under the weather this morning. The below video of an Australian lyrebird shows off both its beautiful plumage and its astounding abilities as a mimic.

The post includes another such video and relays an account of someone who found birds imitating two popular songs from the 1930s that a farmer had taught to a pet lyrebird -- thirty years later and over a hundred miles away.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing. I had a friend who spent some time in the rural Phillipines about 3 years ago. He said that all of the birds around the village imitated the sounds of human copulation to the point that it sounded like a woodside orgy every night. They only seemed to do it during the spring.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

Nice. I believe that a major function of birdsong is mate selection, in which case, the seasonal nature of what your friend observed makes sense.

What they're imitating reminds me, in a very amusing way, of Ayn Rand's example of a parrot's vocalizations having no relationship to the truth, at least in terms of their reflecting any knowledge on the parrots' part.