Year of the magpie

I have had a project this year of looking out for and photographing magpies. The aim has been at least one per week. This has been imperfectly achieved – some weeks many pics of maggies and others (not many), none. When in Auburn, strangely, it is not always easy to find them. I wonder if the ‘bigger bird’ niche is taken up by galahs here, as  magpies are much scarcer. I went looking this morning, and did come up with a murray magpie; not quite the same thing, but better than nothing! I have observed that they are very bold, bossy birds. Confident. Social. We have some that hang around the front lawns of the flats I live in – the woman downstairs has taken to leaving food for them and they love it, and call out for her and the food some days (its probably bad for them to be fed this way, but interesting to see them at close quarters). I have also seen quite a few young birds – they have grey feathers on their backs, rather than clearly black and white, which are the adult colours. I am very fond of them, and just love their song. Sometimes I hear a bird carolling late in the night – midnight or thereabouts – some riotous bird staying up late. Of course they are also very protective of their nests in spring and can swoop people who come too close. I remember being scared of this when I was a kid coming home from school. Obviously there were magpies in Auburn then! They were voted Australia’s favourite bird earlier this year – I was pleased, though some others felt it was an unimaginative choice, given how common they are. I have loved looking out for them, and think they are wonderful birds – more so after a year of looking and listening.

It is hard to take good pictures of birds – they fly away, or are too far away, or look away at the last moment, so the pics are a bit haphazard. But here they are…


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8 Responses to Year of the magpie

  1. Mandy Laidlaw says:

    A lovely story, EB.
    Happy New Year, hope it’s colorfull and not all black and white.

  2. nelm47 says:

    Thank you for telling and showing us your love for the magpie.I also have a magpie story. In September 1972 I arrived as a migrant in Australia – Perth.On the following day I went for a walk to explore the neighbourhood. It was Sunday and quiet. As I walked along the footpath a bird came from the other side of the road straight at me. There was no one around.  I screamed and quickly crossed the road but the bird kept on coming after me. Finally a car came up the road and panicking now I stood in the middle of the road and the car stopped. The driver, a man laughed and said it was a magpie and that this behaviour was to protect their nest or young. I did not want to hear this and at arriving home I said I wanted to go back to my home country as in this country there were birds who wanted to kill you. I stayed and learnt to love the bird and its warbling call. I later learned that each family has their own call. In my garden where there are sometimes up to 8 magpies who are global travellers. Their call is (and here you have to use your best magpie voice) we’ve been to tokyo!!!I have loved and admired your stories this year. You are a legend in my eyes for all the things you do with such commitment.Love Nel xx

    Sent from Samsung tablet.

    • HI Nel,
      What a great story – it must have been pretty freaky to have such a thing happen on day 1! I am glad you got over it all and learnt to love them after all. Thanks for your encouragement too Nel and your style and warmth and general marvellous-ness! I look forward to seeing you again soon and Happy New Year (and birthday) in the meantime.

  3. We have magpies here in Alberta, Canada as well. they are very interesting to watch and listen to…

  4. Hi again Carol,
    what lovely photos – and there are heaps of birds I don’t know at all. Amazing creatures aren’t they? I think the magpie you have photographed is the Eurasian magpie (which I associate with Europe, but it seems Canada too).
    Cheers for now

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