Blog Archive

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Loved lyrebird dies

From local ABC News bulletin.

Loved lyrebird dies

Updated December 29, 2011 22:18:47
Adelaide Zoo's much loved lyrebird Chook, known for his stunning vocal ability, has died at the age of 32.
Chook became a YouTube star after he was filmed imitating the sounds of construction work, which he probably picked up as the zoo's panda enclosure was being built in 2009.
The sounds of drills, hammers and saws were all within his range and the performance attracted more than a million hits.
The master mimic was also known for his impressions of other birds, including the magpie, lorikeet and kookaburra.
Chook had been at the zoo for 20 years, arriving from the Healesville Sanctuary.
Adelaide Zoo's Brett Backhouse was Chook's keeper for 11 years and says 32 is a good age for a lyrebird.
"We believe that he's probably one of the older lyrebirds ever to be kept or that was known around the place," he said.
"We noticed that he looked a little bit off-colour only a day or two beforehand and then he was unfortunately found dead so it was a bit of a shock.
"He was hand raised so he was quite human habituated. That sort of gave him some special abilities as well. He was a lot braver with humans because he was so used to them.
"The public could get close and see him doing his thing really easily whereas ones in the wild will be very shy by nature."


Lyrebirds are well known for their ability to imitate the sounds of the world around them.
"It's part of their courtship that they perform. Ones out in the wild in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will mimic whatever they can find and they use it to attract a female and sort of show how clever they are," Mr Backhouse said.
"We're still getting used to the fact that the aviary's very, very quiet."
He says the zoo has three other lyrebirds, but none are as vocal as Chook.
Old age is believed to be the cause of Chook's death but the zoo has performed a post-mortem to be sure.
Lyrebirds are so-called because their tail feathers resemble the lyre, an ancient musical instrument.
Sir David Attenborough brought them to a global audience when he featured a lyrebird imitating a chainsaw, camera shutters and a car alarm in his 'Life of Birds' series.
It was voted the British public's 'Favourite Attenborough Moment' in a television poll.
First posted December 29, 2011 09:58:10

No comments:

Post a Comment