The Rod Blog

02 July 2006

Enter The Magpie

One of the great things about living in Australia is the magpie. Not the pretend variety found in England, but the original Australian maggie that sings a beautiful warble. At this time of the year the young males congregate in groups of a dozen and so, sorting out their hierarchy for the coming mating season. To my ears the accompanying warble is the most wonderful sound, but perhaps in maggie terms it really represents jeers and jibes.

That’s not a beak. THAT’s a beak.
You and who’s army?
And so on.

Every so often one or more would take off, and dive-bomb the others. Or several at a time launch themselves into spectacular aerial combat.

I find it gratifying to see them do this to each other since, as every Australian knows, they love doing it to humans during nesting season. There’s nothing quite like an innocent stroll across a park, to be whacked on the back of the head by a stroppy maggie. The kinder ones warn you first by swooshing their wings and clacking their beaks. The sneaky ones go straight for the back of your head.

Meanwhile, the young males are also congregating at the neighbour’s house. Flocks of them revving their noisy cars hoping to attract a mate. Their cars are mobile bowers adorned to bring on the females. The auto-equivalent of their scent markings are the fresh rubber tyre marks at the front of our house.


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