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19th century automaton mimics bird songs with chirpy precision

steampunk bird

This contraption does only one thing, and it does it really well. Created in 1890, this small device mimics a bird's chirps with almost eerie accuracy, as evidenced in the video below. It's believed to have been built in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a specialist in bird-based automata, and was recently restored by Michael Start, of the House of Automata. The chirps and tweets are generated by a complex array of gears, springs, and bellows, and they're far more intricate than a simple sound loop. Less clear, however, is the actual species being mimed.

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