June 7, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Video Clip:  The Rich Little Bird

A popular video clip has been circulating around the internet for over a year.  It shows an Australian lyre bird imitating other birds and man-made sounds.  Click here to watch the 3.5 minute performance.  Narrated by David Attenborough, it was voted the #1 most popular Attenborough moment from the naturalist’s TV shows.

Speaks for itself.  Incredible and fun.  Thankfully, David omitted any of his incessant Darwin-talk in the narration.  Maybe he couldn’t think of anything to say that would sound sensible.
    Teachers should use this clip as an example of animal intelligence.  Think of all the brain power and vocal hardware required for the bird to perform these feats.  This is no hoax or sound-editing trick.  Even Rich Little would be amazed.
    For extra fun, visit Fred Newman’s website on MouthSounds and consider the breadth of audio capabilities inherent in the human vocal apparatus (for a hilarious sampler, watch “A Rumination” on his videos page).  Wouldn’t it be a racket to stage a contest between Fred and the lyre bird?
Encore:  Now to really freak out, watch the talking cats.

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Birds, Media

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