Australian Pickup Artist Birds Allegedly Resorting to Gaslighting for Hookups

Illustration for article titled Australian Pickup Artist Birds Allegedly Resorting to Gaslighting for Hookups
Image: GREG WOOD (Getty Images)

As I have long-touted on this very blog, birds are terrible and they should all be canceled. But perhaps none more so than the lyrebirds, recently found to be the early 2000s pickup artists of the flying dinosaur world. These craven birds will stop at nothing to score, including doing admittedly dope shit like having a “display” area, which I’m assuming is a grown-up apartment complete with hand towels and more than one pillow, along with concocting elaborate and impressive dance routines. But also they routinely try to seal the deal with their bird Bumble matches by doing very messed up things like imitating the sounds of impending danger, likely so the lady lyrebird will fall into the old rom-com trap of banging the nearest available scruffy-yet-lovable scamp lyrebird because why not if we’re all about to die anyway.


According to researchers, male lyrebirds will mimic all manner of sounds of approaching predators, including the “mobbing” sounds made by bunches of birds at the approach of a predator in order to get their bird date to freeze up long enough for some mating:

“When the mimicking calls were analysed in detail, researchers could detect mobbing calls that sounded like eastern yellow robins, brown thornbills, and white-browed scrubwrens. Occasionally, the researchers detected alarm calls that sounded like two species of possum.”

These PUA birds aren’t the only animals to do this; they’re just the most over-the-top with it. And though these birds are “capable of doing amazing things and terrible things,” says Dr. Anastasia Dalziell, it’s very much a not all lyrebirds situation, apparently, and we shouldn’t be so quick to cancel them:

“Males are pulling out all the stops to get the female to mate. It’s just one of the many things males do,” Dalziell adds. “They have this beautiful dance routine and they’ll sing from dawn until dusk and so the female is getting all these other beautiful signals. We shouldn’t see the lyrebirds as terrible.”

Okay, but these are the same researchers who threw a snake at these already pressed birds to try and get a control “mobbing” sound, so obviously, the issue is systemic. Lady lyrebirds, please know that no matter my qualms with avians in general I pride myself on being, above all else, a bird feminist, so if any of you would like to get in touch to tell your story, my DMs are always open.


David Attenborough recorded the amazing lyre bird here:

Hope you can see this, I copied the link. Anyway, the last sound this particular lyre bird makes in the video is a car alarm! I live in upstate New York & used to feed the birds. We had one bird, don’t know what kind, who would sit in a tree, 20 or 30 feet up, in our back yard & imitate a car alarm. It was absolutely hilarious!