Magpie gangstas

birdmafline_new08_smallThe Magpies woke me at 6:am this morning.

Normally, if I don’t put food out in the morning they will pop in every hour or so and yodel softly at the door. If they are not able to get an answer they go off and return later to repeat the process.

It’s mating season now and the hormones are running and these birds are somewhat different characters. Now they decide it is time for breakfast at six. One of them will hop right up to the door and yodel at the top of his lungs. If nobody appears within a few seconds he will yodel again, a few seconds later again, and so on until he gets my attention.

My bed is just a few feet from the door and in full song a Magpie’s voice is earsplitting!

In the past the bird would stop calling as soon as I was sighted but not now. The yodeling goes on until the food appears on the ground and then there is a disgruntled squawk as though he is deeply annoyed at my tardiness.

In the past they were happy to get amounts of meat about the size of a small finger-joint. Now he wants a lot more. He loads up a wad of meat in his beak and carries it off without a by-your-leave!

There is always a little bread broken up into the smallest pieces practical. Bread is bad for a lot of birds in large amount but the native birds around here left most of what used to be put out anyway so the amount was cut right back. The supply was continued because almost all of the birds that visit here will take a few crumbs for the salt content. Multigrain is the usual type as white is rarely touched and they even have preferences on what brand of bread, Some multigrains are untouched as well.

The Butcherbird used to pop in for a bit of meat as well. In this case it was the female, or females. There were at least two. She would sit on the fence and sing like mad before breaking off with a crazy cackling noise that sounded like a manic Kookaburra then hop down to a bougainvillea branch by the door so she could see what I was doing while I went for the meat

Last time I saw her she was silent.  Instead of sitting on the top of the fence palings she was part way down on the horizontal railing with her head well below the top of the palings. It took a while to figure what she was doing. She was trying to use the fence as a magpie shield while she was moving into the feeding area. I guess she was trying to get my attention with mental telepathy because a loud call would have alerted the Magpies.

The magpies swoop on everything that comes near the feeding tables throughout the day at this time of year although there seem to be truces for birds who only come for water or seed. Not always though!

Last year we were being pestered by feral domestic pigeons that would stuff themselves at the tables until there was nothing left for the other seed and bread eating birds. Magpie mating season ended that! One day the magpies started swooping the pigeons and hitting them so hard they literally rolled and bounced down the driveway in a big cloud of feathers

I hate getting up at 6:am, I only went to bed at 3:am!

(note: They have been getting fed a cat food that comes in small, individually sealed, “fingers” of meat. Each finger is meant to a meal for a cat but lasts almost a week if kept in the fridge and resealed. The meat is finely ground or minced and the birds who eat meat love it! It is called “Fussy Cat” It’s made by VIP and I get it from the pet food refrigerator section at Coles Supermarket)

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