Details for the May meeting
The short presentation will be by Dan Mantle on ?Seabirding from Sonne-rise to
Sonne-set?. This will be a
brief report of the seabirds observed (Bosunbirds, Boobies, Frigatebirds,
Petrels, and Shearwater) aboard the RV Sonne as part of Geoscience
Australia's 2008 marine surveys off
The main presentation will be by Anastasia Dalziell on ?Making a song and dance about it: mimicry
and complexity in the display of the Superb Lyrebird.?
The elaborate vocal displays of birds have intrigued and
delighted people worldwide, with bird songs finding their way into our poems,
our philosophical texts and our music. A key focus is the ability of birds to
reproduce complex sounds with precision and nowhere is this skill more
highlighted than in avian mimicry. Many birds supplement their own unique
species vocalisations with imitations of other birds, other animals and even
sounds of human origin such as speech or mechanical noise. When considered from the bird?s
perspective, this behaviour is puzzling for several reasons: why should birds
produce deliberately confusing signals? Who is the mimic trying to communicate
with and what information is conveyed by the imitation? And why should some species mimic and
others stick to their own original song? Anastasia will address these and related
questions in the song of the world?s most celebrated mimic: the Superb Lyrebird.
Anastasia is a PhD student at BoZo at the
Australian National University. She has worked on the vocal displays of
superb fairy-wrens, purple-crowned fairy-wrens, white-browed scrubwrens,
banded wren and humans.