magpies

magpie through the window

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Magpies are quite territorial and since a group discovered the bird bath on my deck they have decided to move in permanently, the young ones sitting all day along the railing and peering at themselves in the glass reflection.

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chasing dinner

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nest building magpie

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Australian (black-backed) Magpie are found over most of eastern and northern Australia. This one is a female (the patch on the back of the neck in males is a solid white while the female’s patch is greyer and the feather pattern more distinguished).

the youngster

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There are a lot of common Australian birds in this area and this Australian Magpie is a juvenile that lives with a large family party around the headland. They are around 34-44 cm and while sociable to their own group they can be hostile to others. They nest in untidy cups of twigs and sometimes wire that they line with grass or other soft material then lay 3 spotted and smeared brown or blue eggs.

Acknowledgement: The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd edition, New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.

morning songster

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This Magpie was singing a greeting to a new day with gusto, its lovely flute-like warbling echoed around the headland and followed me as I strolled past. You can hear its song on this page.

P1040373Sociable Pied Magpies are one of the most common and familiar of Australian birds and usually live in family groups of between 4-20 but they can be antagonistic to other groups or any intruder be it human or eagle.

They are reknown for swooping on unsuspecting pedestrians  who unknowingly wander near their nest sites. Its a common sight at nesting time to see people walking along waving sticks or umbrellas in the air or flapping their arms to ward off the dive bombers!

Acknowledgement: Slaters Field Guide to Australian birds.