A Lesson From the Lyrebird

We are traveling around the world with our homeschool lessons this year.  We’ve been in Australia, and we’re about to move along to China next.  There is so much to learn about each one that it’s hard to decide when to stop and move on to the next country.

One of our favorite parts of our Australian studies has been the folk tales.  We’ve been reading from this book.

We found our copy at Amazon.com


The littles have asked me to read their favorite stories to them again and again.

One story stood out for me, and I learned about an animal I’d never heard of before.

The Lyrebird.

They are fascinating animals who get their name because the males have tails that resemble the ancient Greek musical instrument, the lyre.  They are simple yet beautiful to me.

Photo by Debra--  https://www.flickr.com/photos/damselfly58/6302167338/in/photolist-aAUfMy-7eTRFh-eCh5QV-2kf66M-9bpNor-kzK5z9-5UFd4k-9AvxYg-9KHRzc-i9sWkS-bcY7Pa-co5bUW-dgMjBz-891SkC-azSEXh-5Ftocb-nEU6yd-8Epepn-burUjR-7GqmpE-9ARvPb-5jtmHq-bzL2BP-nTezgq-7zjbD8-8hBYDS-6pKDBc-9NzLm3-82aie5-fM8bH-85NQPx-4Luxcq-9ANyh8-8WV39C-bGQ8eH-9crjcF-9Nkh7T-7UmTwN-bR2QUF-7BUrQu-7M1SXL-4gExqd-8EFoFM-4Ng4Wy-busn5i-burXQK-8Aa7NQ-6bMzoR-dr8pvK-dr8Uhf/
Photo by Debra– Thanks to https://www.flickr.com/photos/damselfly58/

What is most amazing about these birds is that they can copy the sounds of other birds and the things they hear around them.  Even–the click of a camera and the sound of a chainsaw.

What?!  Yes.  Watch this video.  I have yet to tire of seeing this.

(Is the song “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree” playing in anyone else’s head now? No?  Okay, just checking.)

This bird is captivating, isn’t it?  I mean, that camera shutter and forwarding?  The chainsaws?  The CAR ALARM?

And while the talent of this beautiful Australian bird amazed me, it also made me sad.

Why is this bird of the wild able to imitate such things?  Why is he hearing a car alarm or a chainsaw out in the wild where he lives?


And he thinks it’s beautiful as he incorporates it into his mating song.   He doesn’t even know what he’s “singing.”

The lyrebird is a lot like our children.  They listen and hear the things we say and the things said in their presence wherever they go, and they repeat them.  Not knowing what they are saying, only that it’s a part of their world, so it must be okay.

Or not.

That’s the lesson I learned from the lyrebird.  I have a tender spot for these birds now, maybe because in the story he was especially kind and generous.  Or maybe because he is able to sing such beautiful things, and bless him, he thinks the sound of a car alarm is just that.

Either way, the lyrebird reminds me that more are listening than I know.  At any given time, my children and others are watching and listening to find beauty in this world.  May what passes through my lips only add to it.

May your day be graced with sounds of beauty.  Love to all.







2 thoughts on “A Lesson From the Lyrebird”

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