Last Call

The last confirmed sighting of New Zealand’s huia wattlebird occurred in 1907. Sound recording was then in its infancy, so no recording of the bird’s call is known to exist. But in 1949 local historian Robert Batley arranged this recording of Hēnare Hāmana, a skilled caller who as a young man had participated in an expedition to seek the huia in the Ruahine Ranges north of Wellington. That effort was unsuccessful, but Hāmana, now in his 60s, remembered the call and performed it in the studios of radio station 2YA. So, to that extent, the call has been “rescued.”

Birds have occasionally returned the favor: See The Parrot of Atures and Ghosts of Scotland.

(Thanks, Charles.)