Echo birds are as common as muck, and about the same color. Theyre found only in San Axolotl, where they scurry along the paving stones and under the tables of the street cafes, through trash-clogged back alleys and down the walks of rooftop gardens, looking for scraps and seeds. Once you leave the city, though, the echo bird population tapers off within five miles, and the only specimens anywhere else in the world have glass eyes and are wired to their perches.
Echo birds are not mimics. There are all kinds of mimics in the bird kingdom, from the pygmy mynah to the rare and savage Cassowary Macaw, whose repertoire generally consists of the screams and curses of its last unfortunate victim. Mimicry is no longer a particularly impressive trick. Any old parrot, with time and patience, can learn to whistle the national anthem and make obscene comments, or both at the same time.
The echo bird, however, does something quite beyond mimicry. If you encounter an echo bird, all you will s