Thursday, June 08, 2006

Neil Diamond as bird bait

Have you read Sean Dooley's The Big Twitch? He made me laugh innumerable times while recounting his quest to see 700 birds in one year and teaching me about Australian birdlife, geography and history.

Want to read some funny bits?
For the first hour or so it looked like I'd pulled the wrong rein with Little Beach. There was simply no sign of the birds. Apparently they are very curious and are attracted by any loud noise... I decided to do an experiment to see which moden noise a [Lord Howe] woodhen who had spent its entire life on a small South Pacific island would never have heard.

I thought I'd give hip-hop music a try. Sadly, no success with the impromptu rap stylings of MC Doolio. Perhaps another form of music? I tried a bit of James Brown, followed by everything from Monty Python to Kylie, but nothing seemed to work. Apart from Neil Diamond. Not just any part of Neil Diamond, but the bit at the end of the musical intro to "Crunchy Granola Suite" where Neil proclaims "Good Lord!" As soon as I uttered those words (in the style of Neil Diamond, of course) a pair of woodhens came running. They were ridiculously tame birds so every time I hit them with a "Good Lord!" they would respond with up to ten seconds of shrieking.

More, you say? Why, soytainly.
Now in her seventies, Stella took me out the next morning to meet her favourite pair of Malleefowl. ... At one point the male bird started displaying to the hen. He raised a small crest on his head (I had no idea they even possessed a crest), stuck his head between his legs and made a deep, resonant booming sound. Very impressive. I must remember that move.

Honestly, I'd like to see a fellow pull off that mating display. It would make dating so much more interesting.

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