The precise age I was first able to sneak up on a lyrebird escapes me – I think 14-15 yrs of age. I still remember the thrill of watching the dance and listening to the vast array calls of these remarkable birds. Even better I was able to withdraw quietly enough to not disturb the bird. Dad and the family were most impressed when I led them back to have a gander.

Recently – due to that which shall not be named – I have resumed my acquaintance with the forest, its creatures and especially the lyrebird. Some of you no doubt will have seen facebook posts on recent experiences like Rooster and fungus. Today’s encounter was exceptional as you’ll see and hear but first.

Reaching back in time.

Scott Alexander King in “Animal Dreaming”, says of the lyrebird that it “can flawlessly mimic repetitive sound” and that the young learn the calls of their parents and any new repetitive sounds in the environment. Captive birds have been known to learn manmade sounds such as chainsaws, alarms and so on.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the deep forest far from the audible influence of man, the lyrebird is repeating the sounds of the forest perhaps several hundred years past. I wonder if they mimic the calls of the thylacine or tassie devil from the distant past? Actually I expect that would be unwise and result in becoming a meal as the predator zeroed in to reclaim territory from the intruder.

Wandering off track a bit here – as I do. Genetic memory. Have a look back through your family tree. What is lurking there? Is there someone with a notable skill that you see in a parent or sibling? Have you always had a yearning to do something but were unable to for whatever reason? Try looking at your ancestors and perhaps honour what they have passed on that might be lurking under the yoke of modern life. You never know.

I am very grateful for still being sneaky after all these years and to be able to approach within about 3 metres of a dancing bird. From behind. So much joy to be had filming a bird’s butt. Still grinning. Enjoy.

50 years on – the thrill is the same.

Leave a Reply