NPR logo Call of the Wild: The Sounds of the Lyrebird

Call of the Wild: The Sounds of the Lyrebird

The lyrebird is known for its ability to mimic natural and artifical sounds in the environment. hide caption

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Find your headphones. Mixed Signals offers at day's end an audio benediction. In Britain, Sir David Attenborough, known as the "father of natural history programming" was honored by UKTV on the occasion of his 80th birthday in May. Viewers got to revisit 20 of the best clips from his nature documentaries and vote for their favorites. Sir David's visit with the remarkable lyrebird was voted into the top spot. He filmed one in Australia. His narration is sparse and whispered. It is the lyrebird's song making that endears — and its ability to imitate other birds and even mechanical noises from the environment. Can a bird sound like the shutter of a camera? Like a chainsaw? Listen and watch and smile.