Monday, July 25, 2011

Lyrebird! A book from the heart.

Twelve years ago I visited the Healesville Sanctuary with my family and we were held captive by 'Nova' the resident male lyrebird. He danced and sang at our feet as if his life depended on it. And I suppose it does. Well ... the survival of his genes depends on his performance skills as it is through his singing and dancing he persuades a female to mate with him.

Since that time, and like a new convert, I have wanted to tell the world about this magical bird. And so now ... years later, I am doing just that.

I work very slowly - each word is polished, each sentence sounded. You can't write about a musician without attending to the musicality of your own language. The text for a picture book is almost done but I needed to visit Nova one more time and revisit the mountain home of the bird I'm writing about.

We drove up the Black Spur Road and turned down Archeron Way. Lyrebirds scuttled in front of the car. Every time we stopped and switched off the engine we could hear their full-throated singing. The Mountain Ash, the tallest flowering trees in the world, disappeared into the cloud and at times we found ourselves in a monochrome scene.

We called into Healesville and visited Nova. He was dancing when we arrived. When his keeper entered the enclosure with a bucket of wriggling food, he strode impressively passed us before taking to a branch and resuming his singing.

I'm counting the days until I can share with you my new book but in the meatime if you would like to hear a Lyrebird story and enjoy some archival footage of the first Lyrebird recorded and broadcast on the wirless click here.

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