Many Superb Lyrebirds live in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, East of Melbourne, where I previously lived. Many times throughout my childhood, while padding my way quietly through the bush, I have disturbed one of these amazing birds. Either I have seen their tell-tale shadows flit through between trees or I have been blessed to have seen a male performing his courtship dance.
As part of this display the male brings his beautiful white feathery tail over his head and makes it quiver and wave about to attract the female. More often though, I would hear their distinctive song – a strong, echoing song, unmatched in vocal repertoire and mimicry. Lyrebirds have their own song, but can also mimic any number of other sounds.
Whilst standing in the dark, ferny gully, I have heard them mimic not only the individual songs of other birds or the chatter of flocks of birds, but also a dog barking, a chainsaw, a stock whip being cracked, a car alarm, rifle shots and camera shutters.