In the depths of the forest he toiled for hours, sweeping his stage of errant leaves and broken twigs, preening each magnificent tail-feather to perfection.
A beautiful symphony warbled and trilled and cooed from his throat, an harmonious and heartfelt plea of come close and admire me. The other birds listened, awed and confused as he sang the Kookaburra and the Bristlebird, the Honeyeater and the Wren. He accepted their silent encore again and again.
But no female came to applaud his efforts. As the sky darkened, he finished with a swansong, unwitting ode to his own destruction.
Every other Sunday I’ll be publishing a drabble about, or from the perspective of, a bird. This week’s bird is the amazing Lyrebird. A native of Australia, the males of this species are the world’s most talented mimics, and attract a mate by performing songs comprised of the sounds they hear around them. Usually this comes in the form of the songs of other birds, but as can be seen in the following David Attenborough clip from his series, The Life of Birds, the Lyrebird can also mimic the sounds of humanity encroaching on its territory—including the sound of chainsaws and handsaws which accompany the slow loss of the bird’s own habitat.
The Youtube clip is © The BBC. The featured Lyrebird image is © Fir0002/Flagstaffotos (source) under the terms of this CC 3.0 non-commercial license.