becoming a nuisance

ok, the magpies seemed pretty cool at first. but by day four of our stay in canberra they’re becoming a pest. this guy in particular (above). he’s sitting on my windowsill, practically nose to nose with me, and he wants attention. i took this picture from about 10 inches away from his beak, though separated by a pane of glass. he’s obviously used to being fed, and i’m resisting with all my might because once you give in, they’ll never leave you alone. he’s already gotten me into a whistling contest, and i can’t possibly win. and he seems to think he should be an indoor bird. i’m going to have to consult the locals to figure out how canberrans avoid being held captive by these rascals. i don’t know how long i can go on with this character constantly hectoring me.

a throwaway magazine left on our front step yesterday had a cover story about the magpies. swooping magpies have injured a few bikers and pedestrians. no serious injuries, but the strafing is frightening. the birds themselves seem mostly harmless. (though now that i think about the concept of ‘mostly harmless’, the news media in the US are portraying the looting and burning in portland and other american cities as ‘mostly peaceful’. one wag commented that, by that standard, ‘world war two was mostly peaceful, too.’

for the most part, bird life here is spectacular. some really colorful fellows, and quite a variety considering we haven’t been out of the compound since we got here. most of them keep to themselves. only these silly magpies seem to be our dependents.

and i need a bit of education on magpie family life. twice in these first four days i’ve seen what appears to be a young magpie lying on its back while an adult stands over it, screaming and pecking. in both instances i’ve thought i was doing a good deed by rescuing the youngster, but i’m not sure about protocol in such situations. are the little guys in danger, or is this standard parenting and i’m interfering with normal disciplinary practice?

this wasn’t intended to be a blog about magpies. but in these early days of quarantine, these encounters are close to being the daily highlights. life’s bound to get more exciting when the quarantine lifts. isn’t it?

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s