"Reg Clark" <>
Fri, 9 Jun 2000 14:20:45 +1000
Last Monday I was quietly skulking about in a wet gully not far from my home
in a suburb about 20 kms NW of Sydney. At the time I was endeavouring to
find signs that this bush-filled gully had been reoccupied by Superb
Lyrebirds since the previous longterm resident female was eaten by the local
Powerful Owl two years ago. I had followed the valley for about 2kms down
its rocky stream bed and as usual was enjoying my solitude when I heard a
young male child call in his semi-soprano voice "Cooeee! Cooeee! My
immediate reaction was that of resentment at this intrusion and the
thought"why aren't you at school " came to mind.
My next reaction was that perhaps the child was lost and was seeking help
so I" Cooee,d"
back but got no answering response . I then clambered up the steepish
hillside towards the source of the calls and searched the vicinity without
Then, from the thick scrub near the floor of the gully about 30 or forty
metres away(much closer now) again the unmistakable child's "Cooeee!
Cooeee!" was repeated.
This time I did not reply but made my way to the spot to find a young male
Superb Lyrebird which thereupon burst into his repertoire of imitations of
all the common local birds.
I have often listened to these Lyrebird calls but for the first time I have
heard an unmistakable human voice sound The sound was not incorporated in
his regular calls ,although I stayed there for the next hour or so it was
I have returned to the spot subsequently but haven't seen the bird or heard
him call.It would be interesting to hear whether there are other instances
of similar human sounds.
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