Robert Krulwich has a post up about the superb lyrebird (real name!), which is COMPLETELY RIDIC. What's so superb? How about the ability to mimic any noise it hears with astonishing faithfulness, that do anything for you? It's the auditory equivalent of that girl from Heroes who could copy anything she saw on TV and then completely disappeared off the show despite having the best power of anyone. If you watch a video of a lyrebird in action, I guarantee you will have a moment of thinking you're being punked.
Here's where it gets depressing, though: Along with kookaburra calls and the clicks of Nat Geo cameras, the birds are recording the sounds of their own habitat being destroyed. Watch the video above to hear a lyrebird mimicking the chainsaws that are cutting down its forest. Krulwich writes:
Many birds can mimic sounds but lyrebirds are the masters. They are nature's living tape recorders, and sometimes their songs can be troubling.
For example, when the BBC's David Attenborough ran into a lyrebird deep in the Australian woods, the bird not only sang the songs of 20 other forest birds, it also did a perfect imitation of foresters and their chainsaws, who apparently were getting closer. That same bird made the sound of a car alarm.
These birds were, in effect, recording the sounds of their own habitat destruction. And they were doing this, ironically, inside their mating songs.
Nature's Living Tape Recorders May Be Telling Us Secrets, NPR.