The Rod Blog

04 October 2006

Flight of the Maggie

I do love the Australian magpie (the real magpie, not the English false magpie; real swans are black, not white).

But most Australians will also know the joy of being swooped by one.What a pest they can be! Here's one, snapped with me in his sights.

One of my early memories is of being at a picnic park somewhere.
On the edge of a grassy slope was the nest of a very stroppy maggie who seemed to get great entertainment from whacking the back of any passing heads.

So my brother and I thought it'd be fun to run full-pelt, down the hill, swirling a willow branch over our heads.
I still remember the feeling of it making contact with the bird as he made for us each time we made a run.
I seem to recall we tried a few times, probably until we got bored and went to pull the wings of some poor bug.
Ah, the joys of childhood.

By the way, did you know that a maggie can sing two notes simultaneously, and has a range of four octaves? Cool, huh! One of the most beautiful songs of any bird.


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