Magpie Leaves the Nest

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Every evening we have eight magies waiting expectantly to be fed their mince meat tea. After tea they adjourn to the garden to romp and play with each other as the sun goes down in the west Phil, you may need to rethink feeding the Magpies mince as this could lead to a build up of small creatures in the soil with unforseen consequences.

Magpie diet and food

Just a thought. Jump to navigation. Log in or register to post comments. Last post. Magpies and their chicks. Regards Phil. No, I have not seen this before. Ever heard that before? Or even witnessed? Night Parrot.

Magpie Leaves the Nest

Curiouser and curiouser. The magpies have gone insane! You don't knock on the window to be fed do you? Perhaps the Rosella learned it from you. There is a lot at stake with every magpie clutch.

Read more: Bird-brained and brilliant: Australia's avians are smarter than you think. The difference between simply not swooping someone and a real friendship manifests in several ways. When magpies have formed an attachment they will often show their trust, for example, by formally introducing their offspring. They may allow their chicks to play near people, not fly away when a resident human is approaching, and actually approach or roost near a human. In rare cases, they may even join in human activity.

For example, magpies have helped me garden by walking in parallel to my weeding activity and displacing soil as I did. One magpie always perched on my kitchen window sill, looking in and watching my every move. On one extraordinary occasion, an adult female magpie gingerly entered my house on foot, and hopped over to my desk where I was sitting. She watched me type on the keyboard and even looked at the screen. The bird was curious about everything I did. She also wanted to play with me and found my shoelaces particularly attractive, pulling them and then running away a little only to return for another go.

Importantly, it was the bird not hand-raised but a free-living adult female that had begun to take the initiative and had chosen to socially interact and such behaviour, as research has shown particularly in primates, is affiliative and part of the basis of social bonds and friendships. If magpies can be so good with humans how can one explain their swooping at people even if it is only for a few weeks in the year?

Ready to leave the nest: Magpie from egg to bird

The strategy they choose is based on risk assessment. A risk is posed by someone who is unknown and was not present at the time of nest building, which unfortunately is often the case in public places and parks. That person is then classified as a territorial intruder and thus a potential risk to its brood.

At this point the male guarding the brooding female is obliged to perform a warning swoop, literally asking a person to step away from the nest area. If warnings are ignored, the adult male may try to conduct a near contact swoop aimed at the head the magpie can break its own neck if it makes contact, so it is a strategy of last resort only. I live on a small property that has been the home of generations of Maggies and their offspring.

Zoologger: Old magpies get wise to freeloading cuckoos | New Scientist

The Maggies are part of our family and we watch their life cycles with great interest. I could be wrong but last year I came to the conclusion she was feeding a young Butcher Bird chick rather than attending the pleadings of her own kids. In the twelve odd years I have been observing the Magpie family, I had never seen this happen and this year she is doing the same thing again. I know the Butcher Bird is a cousin but usually the Magpie is very aggressive in defending its territory when a Butcher Bird intrudes.

But I have witnessed something, I had never seen. I have never had that many Magpies on my property before. There are 4 pairs, and all of them had young.

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A week ago I noticed one of the parents sitting on top of one of his young and continuously pecking it on the head. I tried to disturb them, but to no avail. Shortly after, the young was dead.


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Killed by his parent. Next day, I thought, what is it doing now? One adult was throwing a young in the air, similar to a cat playing with its pray. When I walked up, I realised , it was dead too.


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  • Someone who knows more about Magpies than I do, told me that the males might kill their young if there are too many male offspring in the brood. Interesting behaviour.