Superb Lyrebird

Mimics the sounds of the rainforest, from Kookaburra to chain saw.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(10 Votes, average 3.60)

The male superb lyrebird attracts females by probably the most extravagant animal call in the world. The male mimics all the sounds from the forest, includeing the calls of other birds. Ones brought up around manmade sounds impersonate the roar of a chainsaw, the screech of a car alarm and the click of camera shutters. Lyrebirds display this vocal virtuosity not just during the breeding season, implying the calls are not just about finding a mate but also used to defend territory. During the breeding season they use a display mound to sing from for hours, with the calls travelling up to a kilometre through the forest. The BBC video of the Lyrebird is very funny and was voted by viewers as their favourite Attenborough moment.


The map shows the location of Healesville Sanctuary but the Lyrebird can be seen elsewhere in south-eastern Australia.

Quarry Bank Mill

Just one cotton machine running is loud, just imagine what it was like with all of them going.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(3 Votes, average 4.33)

The North-West of England was at the heart of British Cotton Manufacturing. The noise within the mills was horrendous, indeed pioneering research into noise induced deafness examined weavers because the sound was unrelentingly loud. Nowadays, only a small number of machines are used at this museum, even so the sound is deafening:

“Stand among the looms today, feel the heat brush your face and the floorboards shake, and listen to the roar of the flyer frames. There stretch the beams of yarn and the 500 bobbins set out in the creel, each holding up to 12 miles of cotton. A cool, damp stairway leads down to the wheel itself; a giant, a monster, grown mossy and rusted, its colossal spokes still turning, heaving the river. You can get lost in the vastness of it, in the motion of it, in the grumble and groan of its working, feel yourself floored by this rush of the past.” [1]


Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, nr Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA, see website for opening hours and times when machinery is running. Cotton looms can also be heard at the Museum of Science and Industry in nearby Manchester.

Sources and credits

  2. SpindlierHades (c) some rights reserved
  3. Sound Matthias Kispert (c) some rights reserved