|The Ghost of Paley
Joined: Oct. 2005
This may be old hat to many of you, but I found this cool video on the lyrebird. The chainsaw noises are incredible (assuming somebody's not having fun with the viewers).
Here's some background info:
|A Lyrebird is either of two species of ground-dwelling Australian birds, most notable for their extraordinary ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. They are the:|
Superb Lyrebird or Weringerong (Menura novaehollandiae) is found in areas of wet forest in Victoria and New South Wales, and in Tasmania where it was introduced in the 19th Century. Females are 74-84cm long, and the males are a larger 80-98cm long — making them the third-largest passerine bird after the Thick-billed Raven and the Common Raven. Many Superb Lyrebirds live in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and Kinglake National Park around Melbourne, and in several other parks along the east coast of Australia.
Albert's Lyrebird (Menura alberti) is slightly smaller at a maximum of 90 cm (male) and 84 cm (female) (around 30-35 inches) and is only found in a very small area of Southern Queensland rainforest. They have smaller, less spectacular lyrate feathers than the Superb Lyrebird, but are otherwise similar. Albert's Lyrebird was named in honour of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.
Lyrebirds are among Australia's best-known native birds, even though they are rarely seen in their natural habitat. As well as their extraordinary mimicking ability, lyrebirds are notable because of the striking beauty of the male bird's huge tail when it is fanned out in display; and also because of their courtship display.
A lyrebird's call is a rich mixture of its own song and any number of other sounds it has heard. The lyrebird's syrinx is the most complexly-muscled of the Passerines (songbirds), giving the lyrebird extraordinary ability, unmatched in vocal repertoire and mimicry. Lyrebirds render with great fidelity the individual songs of other birds and the chatter of flocks of birds, and also mimic other animals, human noises, machinery of all kinds, explosions and musical instruments. The lyrebird is capable of imitating almost any sound — from a mill whistle to a cross-cut saw, and, not uncommonly, sounds as diverse as chainsaws , car engines and alarms, rifle-shots, camera shutters, dogs barking and crying babies. Lyrebirds are shy birds and a constant stream of bird calls coming from one place is often the only way of identifying them and their presence. The female lyrebird is also an excellent mimic, but she is not heard as often as the male lyrebird   
One researcher, Sydney Curtis, has recorded flute-like lyrebird calls in the vicinity of the New England National Park. Similarly, in 1969, a park ranger, Neville Fenton, recorded a lyrebird song, which resembled flute sounds, in the New England National Park, near Dorrigo in northern coastal New South Wales. After much detective work by Fenton, it was discovered that in the 1930's, a flute player living on a farm adjoining the park used to play tunes near his pet lyrebird. The lyrebird adopted the tunes into his repertoire, and retained them after release into the park. Neville Fenton forwarded a tape of his recording to Norman Robinson. Because a lyrebird is able to carry two tunes at the same time, Robinson filtered out one of the tunes and put it on the phonograph for the purposes of analysis. The song represents a modified version of two popular tunes in the 1930's: "The Keel Row" and "Mosquito's Dance". Musicologist David Rothenberg has endorsed this information.   
Amazing stuff! Apparently they get their name from the shape of their tail rather than their song.
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.