Lyrebird Not For Sale

Location: Northeast Queensland

Featured animals: Superb Lyrebird, Laughing Kookaburra, Black Palm Cockatoo, Raven, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Barking Owl, Spotted Bowerbird, Southern Cassowary, Gold Tegu, Burmese python, Nile monitor, and a host of exotic birds and fishes

Villain of the week: Marcus Marionette

Animal name: Tape Recorder

Everything is peaceful and relaxing as the Wild Kratts team watch Brandon practice for his big recital at the Sydney Opera House in the Tortuga, which is heading towards to Australia.

"Wow, Brandon, that the most superb playing I've ever heard," said Chris.

"I'll say, you're definitely ready for that concert," said Martin.

"Right on!" said Jimmy.

"Aviva, what do you think?" Koki asked.

Aviva just kept staring at him.

"Uhh, Aviva, you know he's your boyfriend, so you don't have to…" said Koki who got interrupted by Aviva.

"Wow, that was the most amazing thing I've ever heard!" said Aviva, acting like a fan-girl, "I just can't wait to hear perform at that stage!"

"Thank you, guys," said Brandon.

All of the sudden, the Tortuga starts acting strange.

"Koki, what's the situation with the Tortuga?" Chris asked.

"I seem that we need to take a landing for a bit," said Koki, "Jimmy?"

"On it," said Jimmy as he lands in the Brooklyn Sanctuary.

The Tortuga settles down nicely and Koki brings out the solar panels.

"The Tortuga just needs to rest and get some power from sun rays," said Koki, "We'll be staying here until the Tortuga is ready to fly, again."

"Whelp, that leaves us to explore more," said Martin putting on his Creature Power suit.

"You said it," said Chris who also puts on his Creature Power suit.

"Okay, just make sure to keep your Creature pods on and DON'T do anything crazy like you always do," said Aviva.

"No sweat, Aviva," said Martin, "Brandon, are you coming along?"

"I need to keep practicing," said Brandon, "You'll have to go on without me."

"Suit yourself," said Chris as he and Martin leave the Tortuga.

"We'll be back," said Martin.

The Kratts brothers leave the Tortuga, head into the rainforest, and then a male superb lyrebird pops out, intrigued by the Tortuga. Examining from the outside, the lyrebird hears Brandon playing music on his viola, Aviva using power tools to build some more inventions, Jimmy playing his video game, and Koki typing on the computer. The lyrebird then leaves, heading back into the rainforest.

Not far away from the Tortuga, a mysterious man watches the lyrebird through his telescopic monocular, "Hehehe, I found you. Soon, you'll become part of my new collection."

Meanwhile, in the forest, the Kratt brothers trek the forest floor, hoping to find some cool creatures.

"Ahh, the jungles of Australia. What a cool place to look for some amazing creatures," said Martin.

"I'll say, there are so many creatures to find here in this forest, and there's one right now," said Chris as he runs up to a Laughing Kookaburra, screeching on a tree branch.

"Wow, a kookaburra, how cool is that?" said Martin.

"Very cool, indeed, Martin," said Chris, "Kookaburras are known for their calls that are always associated with the jungle, but it's actually a territorial call so that the kookaburra can state 'this is my tree, you can't have it!'"

Then, the Kratt brothers hear another kookaburra call, but it sounds close, yet the kookaburra they are with is not the one making that call.

"Huh, am I hearing thongs or was that another kookaburra calling out?" said Martin as the kookaburra responds to the call.

"Hmm, weird, that definitely sounds like another kookaburra calling nearby, but I don't see one in a tree," said Chris as he looks around.

Then, another sound appears, this time a series of booming, hissing, and rumbling sounds.

"Now what is that?" said Martin.

"That definitely sounds like another animal, to me, but what?" said Chris.

Then, a female Southern cassowary jumps out of a bush, all angry and agitated.

"Uh, Chris? We have a problem…" said Martin.

"Oh yeah! I remember, now! That's a sound cassowaries make when one is challenging another into a fight," said Chris.

"Chris!" Martin shouts as he makes Chris turn around to see an angry cassowary charging at the Kratt brothers.

"AHHH!" said the Kratt brothers as they run for their lives.

"Ooh, ooh, ouch! Seriously, how can any creature run in a thick forest without getting hit by these branches and plants?" said Martin all frantic.

"If you look at the cassowary's head, that crest is like a bony helmet, similar to a football helmet," said Chris also frantically, "that protects the cassowary and helps it run through the bush."

The cassowary begins to lose interest and wanders off in a different location.

"Whew, now that's a close call," said Martin.

"I'll say, but that was weird," said Chris, "normally, cassowaries are shy in front of humans and don't confront them unless threatened."

"But we weren't even doing anything," said Martin, "If anything, it was that other cassowary that got her all eager for a fight."

"But I didn't even see another cassowary in the area," said Chris, "Trust me, a cassowary is pretty easy to spot and she was all I saw."

Then, a Black Palm Cockatoo flies onto a nut tree, eating the nuts.

"Martin, a cockatoo!" said Chris.

"Awesome! Cockatoos are members of the parrot family and like macaws, this black palm cockatoo has a large beak designed to crack open large nuts and uses those feet to hold on to his food, just like a hand would do."

All of the sudden, a raven appears and begins harassing the cockatoo.

"A raven, what is it doing?" Chris asked.

The cockatoo drops the half-eaten nut and the raven swoops down to eat what's left of it.

"The raven wants some of that nut, too, but couldn't open its shell with its small beak. So it waits for another bird, like the cockatoo, to crack open the shell for the raven to access the nut."

The raven then flies to its nest.

"Ahh, so she's a female with eggs," said Chris.

All of a sudden, a cuckoo sound appears out of nowhere and raven gets agitated.

"Uhh Chris, did you hear that cuckoo sound?" Martin asked.

"Yeah, and that raven seems eager to find the source of that sound," said Chris as the raven flies around, looking for the source of the cuckoo sound while a female Channel-billed Cuckoo flies into the raven's nest to lay her egg.

"Martin, look, an actual cuckoo bird," said Chris.

"Whoa, I get it now," said Martin, "Cuckoos, like that channel-billed over there, work as a pair where the male plays the role of distraction so that his mate can lay her egg in the host's nest. That's what I like to call brood parasite."

Koki then appears on the Creature pod, "Now why on Earth would the bird do something like that?"

"For survival reasons," said Chris, "cuckoos are known as brood parasites, creatures that lay their eggs into another host's nest so that the host can take care of the cuckoo's eggs instead. It's another way of controlling the population of birds besides predation."

The female cuckoo lays her egg and the raven drives her away.

"Whelp, that cuckoo did her job, now the raven has an extra mouth to feed," said Martin.

All of the sudden, the male cuckoo appears at an opposite direction from where the sound came from.

"Wait a minute, that's the male cuckoo, but he was behind us, earlier," said Chris all confused, "how can he fly around us without being heard?"

Then, the cuckoo sound came out, again. Martin tries to see who was making that noise from behind the bush, only to see nothing.

"I'm so confused," said Martin, "Oh, this nonsense is driving me crazy!"

The Kratts hear a hooting and barking-like sound.

"That sounds like a barking owl, alright," said Chris, "But they're nocturnal and it's the middle of the day."

"I can't understand this!" said Martin all annoyed and frustrated.

Then, they hear Brandon's music being played.

"Martin, are you hearing what I'm hearing?" Chris asked.

"That sounds like Ninja, but he's back in the Tortuga," said Martin, "And even if he is here, why would he be playing his instrument out here?"

"Ninja! Are you out here!?" Chris shouted in the forest with no response.

The Kratts start hearing a sound similar to the Tortuga's engine running.

"Wait a minute that sounds like the Tortuga!" said Martin.

"The Tortuga must've recharged, but they're leaving without us!?" said Chris.

"We have to get back before they leave us behind!" said Martin as he and Chris run back to the Tortuga, not knowing the lyrebird is following them.

When the brothers reached the Tortuga, they were stunned that the Tortuga hasn't moved at all and was still recharging with the solar panels.

"Huh?" said the brothers as they enter the Tortuga.

"Are you guys okay?" Aviva asked.

"But we heard the Tortuga starting up and thought you guys were gonna leave us behind," said Chris.

"Hmm, why on Earth would you think we would do something like that?" said Koki, "we're a team; we always stick together."

"And besides, if we we're about to leave, we would've called you earlier," said Jimmy.

"I don't understand," said Martin, "I've been hearing random noises and it's driving me crazy."

Sounds of video games start being made.

"Huh, but I turned off my video game. Where is that noise coming from?" Jimmy wondered.

"Oh no! Not here, too!" Martin complained, "Now I'm losing it!"

Now sounds of viola music starts being made.

"Oh Brandon, you just can't stop playing for me, can't you," said Aviva all loving and bubbly.

"Uhh, Aviva?" said Brandon, "That wasn't me. It was this fellow." He picks up the superb lyrebird.

"A lyrebird!" said the brothers.

"So that's what's making all those random sounds," said Chris, "the lyrebird was mimicking all the sounds he overheard and tried to mimic them, almost so convincing that it even fools the originals."

"Like us," said Martin.

The lyrebird continues to make random noises.

"That's why that cassowary was acting so aggressive, the lyrebird sounded exactly like a cassowary trying to challenge another," said Martin.

"You mean that bird can mimic all kinds of sounds, like a tape recorder?" Koki asked.

"Exactly," said Martin, "Come to think of it, I'll call you Tape Recorder."

Tape Recorder continues to chirp and make even more random noises, some of which were Brandon's viola music.

"I can't believe my ears," said Aviva, "The way the lyrebird can mimic Brandon's viola music is almost superb."

"That's why he's called the superb lyrebird," said Chris.

"I'm definitely working on lyrebird creature powers," said Aviva as she jumps straight to her work station to make the Creature Power disks with lyrebird powers, "Can you guys find out what gives the bird the ability to mimic?"

"Can do," said Chris as he pulls out his Creature pod to get an x-ray view of the lyrebird.

Jimmy looks over Chris's Creature pod, "Huh, where's the voice box?"

"Birds don't have voice boxes like mammals do, Jimmy," said Chris.

"Oh yeah," said Martin as he pulls up on the monitor a picture of a human larynx and Tape Recorder's syrinx, "The voice box, or larynx, right here are usually found in mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. They're located between the opening of the trachea, where we breathe through, and the esophagus, where the food goes through. The larynx produces sound by vibrating its vocal chords to manipulate the pitch and volume, helping creatures like lions or frogs sound really loud. Now birds, like Tape Recorder here, have what we call a syrinx. Instead of a voice box with vocal chords located near the head, the syrinx is more located at the fork of bird's lungs. The tubes have membranes that air flows through and muscles that control the complexity of the sound the bird make. In some cases, a bird might even be able to make two sounds at once whereas the larynx can only produce one pitch at a time."

"But look at those muscles on Tape Recorder's syrinx," said Aviva, "So complex. This could take a while."

Tape Recorder flies out of the Tortuga.

"Hey, wait for us!" said Martin as he runs out to chase after Tape Recorder.

"Martin, wait up," said Chris as he follows Martin.

Koki picks up a weird reading on her computer.

"Hey guys, come check this out, quick," said Koki as the rest of the Tortuga team gathers at the screen, "I'm picking up a weird reading. I think there's a ship not too far from here and it has this weird signal that's trying to shield it from being found."

"It must be a cloaking device to keep the ship from being seen by radar," said Aviva.

"How did you find it, though?" Jimmy asked.

"I upgraded the computer thanks to Area 51's technology," said Koki.

"Well, babe, looks like you're gonna have to cut your practice time short, because I need you to infiltrate that ship to see what it is hiding," Aviva said to Brandon, "If the ship is being cloaked, then it has got to be hiding something."

"Understood," said Brandon as he changes into his ninja outfit and heads out to the ship.

"Be careful," said Aviva all worried.

Meanwhile, the Kratts are back in the forest watching Tape Recorder do his courtship ritual.

"Wow, those feathers are just magnificent," said Chris.

"Oh yeah, and it's those two long feathers that give the lyrebird its name," said Martin.

Suddenly, a female lyrebird appears.

"Martin, a female," said Chris, "She may not be as striking, but she sure is picky and wants the best male who can serenade the best."

"All tape recorder needs to do is sing his song," said Martin, "if the song is good enough, she'll go with him."

Tape Recorder begins singing his song and when he starts mimicking Brandon's viola music, the female gets captivate ad chooses him.

"Yes! He did it!" said Chris.

"Alright! Way to go, Tape Recorder!" said Martin.

Suddenly, a trap was sprung and Tape Recorder was captured.

"Hey!" said Martin as he and Chris tried to go rescue Tape Recorder, only to get captured themselves, "Whoa! What is this!?"

"Ace, hahahaha!" said the mysterious voice, "G'Day, mates. Ya bushies look all stonkered. Spiffy job for leading me straight to my catch of the day. I've been fossicking for these bloody birds for some time."

"Who are you!?" said Chris.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Ratbags, allow me to introduce myself. I'm one of those tall poppies Marcus Marionette, and I am what they call a collector and seller of exotic pets." Said the mysterious man with an Australian accent, Mohawk, and wearing an explorer outfit similar to Steve Irwin's outfit.

"Exotic pets!?" said Chris, "You mean pets that came from the wild? You can't do that. Animals like those should be kept free and in the wild, not in someone's house only to be treated as entertainment."

"I Reckon," said Marcus, "Like I want this bloody thing. I have a client who's requesting this and I'm getting moolah for retrieve one. After all, that's how I make a quid."

"You can't have Tape Recorder or any other lyrebird!" said Martin, "Lyrebirds are not for sale!"

"Oh, but they will be," said Marcus, "once I get a good number in stock and sell them to the black market."

"You won't get away with this," said Chris as he and Martin struggle to free them self from the trap.

"But I already have," said Marcus as he leaves with Tape Recorder, "Hooroo! Gotta shoot through to my ute to make more moolah!"

"We have to save Tape Recorder, Chris," said Martin.

"But how?" Chris asked.

Back at the Tortuga, the team frantically tries to call the Kratt brothers.

"Hmm, they're not responding to their Creature pods," said Koki, "something's not right."

Brandon then appears on the screen, "Ninja to Wild Kratts, Ninja to Wild Kratts."

"Loud and clear," said Koki.

"You guys are not gonna believe what I found in this ship," said Brandon as he shows the caged and boxed up Nile monitor, tegu, Burmese python, and numerous birds and fish.

"What is that place?" Koki asked.

"It's a smuggling ship. This ship takes exotic animals from around the world to sell illegally to the black market," said Brandon.

"How awful, to be taken out of your home just to be kept as someone's pet?" said Jimmy.

"Ninja, I need you to find the Kratt brothers right away," said Aviva, "they're not responding to their Creature pods."

"Here are their coordinates," said Koki as she shows Brandon where the Kratts are located.

"I'm on my way," said Brando n as he heads for them.

Back with the Wild Kratts…

"Oh man, this isn't good," said Martin.

"Hanging upside down on tree branches with your arms tied to the ground to prevent us from escaping," said Chris, "we need to hope that Tortuga figures that we're in trouble and sends someone to help us out."

Then, the ropes get swiftly cut by none other than Brandon.

"Wow, nice save, Ninja," said Martin.

"Are you familiar with Marcus Marionette, by any chance?" Chris asked.

"Of course, he is behind all of this," said Brandon, "Marcus is an Aussie exotic pet trader known for his obsession of collecting exotic animals to keep and sell as pets. Normally, he would take whatever he thinks will be popularized by the public en masse, causing a huge decline in their population. In fact, it was he who is responsible for the Spix's macaw's downfall and now he has a ship full of creatures that will soon be sold to the black market unless we stop him."

"But the question is how?" Chris asked, "He outwitted us and seems to always be a step ahead of us."

"True, he is known for his craftiness and ability to remain undetected by Area 51's radar. This will require some time to think through," said Brandon.

"Well I say, we can't spend so much time thinking because the longer we think, the sooner he'll get away with all those creatures," said Martin, "I say, we'll do it with creature powers!"

"But how can we do it without the Creature Power disk?" Chris asked

"I just finished making lyrebird powers, guys," said Aviva as she tosses the disks to the teleporter, "Jimmy, heads up."

"Teleporting," said Jimmy as he teleports the disks to the Kratts.

The Kratts receive the disks and put them in their Creature Power suits.

"Great, now we need to find a lyrebird to touch," said Chris.

"You can't touch the female," said Brandon, "they're not a loud or complex as the males."

"Well, look no further, guys," said Martin as he points to a spotted bowerbird building his bower.

"A bowerbird?" said Chris, "How is a bowerbird gonna help us find Tape Recorder?"

"Cuz look at the decorations in his bower," said Martin pointing at a tail feather that belongs to a male superb lyrebird.

"Whoa, a lyrebird tail feather," said Chris as he picks up the tail feather, "Sorry little fella, we just need this for a little bit,"

Both the Kratt brothers touch the tail feather, press the button on their chest, and shout "Activate Creature Power Suit!" They shrink down to the size of a male lyrebird and start to look almost exactly like a lyrebird, except for the green and blue coloration plus their human heads.

"Alright!" said Chris, "We have lyrebird powers!"

"Chris, check this out," said Martin as he starts making sounds of a plane, chainsaw, car honking, and lion roaring.

"Martin, there's no time for that. We need to…" said Chris.

Martin continues to random sounds of a helicopter, police siren, and a ship.

"Martin, you just gave me an idea," said Chris.

"Really, what's the plan?" said Martin.

"I'll tell you on the way. Ninja," said Chris.

"On it," said Brandon as he leads the Kratt brothers to the ship while they shout "To the Creature Rescue!"

At the ship, Marcus wraps up Tape Recorder and puts him in one of the crates. "Hehehe, soon, my client will pay me mountains of moolah for bringing you to him. Then, I will take more of your kind to sell to the world. I will be rich!"

All of the sudden, he starts hearing the noise of a helicopter.

"What, a helicopter. What's going on here?" said Marcus as he also then hears the sound of a police siren. "Oh no, bizzies!? This isn't right. How could they have founded me!?"

"Marcus Marionette, we have your ship surrounded and we are about to board your ship! I repeat, we have your ship surrounded and are about to board your ship" said a deep voice by an unknown person, "Come out with your hands in the air. I repeat, come out of the ship with your hands in the air."

Marcus comes out of the ship with his hands up, saying "Okay, I give! You got me!" and seeing only Aviva, Koki, and Jimmy with microphones and the Kratt brothers making the noises.

"Gotcha!" said Aviva.

"Huh, so you were trying to trick me?" said Marcus as he jumps down his ship to confront thee team, "like you think that will stop me."

"No, but this surely will," said Brandon holding Tape Recorder.

"So this was a diversion, huh," said Marcus as the rest of the Wild Kratts team hides, "What? Hey, where did they all go!?"

Tape Recorder begins making a series of booming, hissing, and rumbling sounds, attracting the aggressive female cassowary.

"Huh, oh no!" said Marcus as he gets chased by the angry cassowary, "You haven't seen the last of me! Mark my words, I'll get you all, you bloody Wild Buggas!"

"Aww, not him, too," said Martin, "It's Wild Kratts."

"We'll have to empty the ship of its creatures and return them to their real home," said Chris.

"Then after that, we can hear our musician friend play at the concert," said Aviva.

"Area 51 told me they're on their way to help us out," said Koki.

"I'd say, mission accomplished!" said Martin as Tape Recorder reunites with the same female he courted earlier.