Magpies can be friendly, NOT ONLY swooping.

I call Mallacoota the centre of the universe. Maybe too tiny for such a definition, but it will do for us.

Clever, very adorable and lovable magpies

We have a handicapped ringneck dove living with us for the last 20 odd years. He has an injured shoulder and would not survive in the wild.

Both Margaret and I did not want to cage this beautiful bird and Margaret nursed it back to health. However he is a very poor flyer. Since we did not want to cage him he lives freely and roams in our living room for the last app. 25 years. It is absolutely no bother to care for him and his special needs; such as shell grit, shredded cheese and seeds and greens. Cleaning his droppings is a minuscule task and no bother to us. Ring-necked doves live to over 35 years.

The only concern that my protective Mogli has is that should the door to the balcony be accidentally left open. it is that he might venture outside. He might not manage to get back safely and fall prey to alert sharp-eyed prey birds.

Our balcony is the occasional feeding station for many of the native birds. As an example King Parrots know that there is sometimes food for them and feed from ones hand. We enjoy all the visitors to the balcony, actually it is a lovely way to start the day.

Today I would like to invite you to share some of the little delights that somehow became a meaningful reason to exist.

Magpies have always been around us, they are highly intelligent ‘people’, brilliant singers and will willingly take some shredded cheese or a little dollop of mincemeat. I have been told that they can differentiate and recognise over 50 individual people, sort these into ‘save’ people and some not to be trusted.

Magpies in Mallacoota

They know us and know that we share some of our food with them. However they are not allowed to come inside as we keep the front door to the balcony closed. Simply to also lineate for them ‘The indoor’ and ‘The outdoor’ world. Our ringneck dove, called buebele (German for a little boy) has his food, including shredded cheese, but it is close to the door to the big world.

Lately, when Mogli is not about, I slide the door slightly open and invite my two troubadours to have some of the cheese that is normally so very close but inside and out of their reach. The delight starts straight away as they, with their clever, brown eyes, look up at me and say: ‘Are you only tempting us or what ?’

Still looking ,with a slightly bend head up to me, they will one at a time step onto the sill, hesitate, clearly showing their hesitation not to do the wrong thing but of course are tempted. With a little encouragement from me, it allows these delightful bird friends to come further in to the tempting cheese. Peck a little shredded cheese, look up at me again, and peck some more, go out of on their own, into their safe world. When I indicate that they ought to leave, they willingly and calmly step back out.

I am sure that at even at that moment with their familiarity with us, they still show their doubts of this is OK with their tilted head and eyes.

Lately with more familiarity with the new tiny food supply, the male steppes assuredly across the magic doorstep. The female is more doubtful and careful. Just as humans are, -nearly always

Maybe there is something wrong with me that a pair of magpies can effect one so deeply with something called love. To me it is a great delight and when they do not come on a given day I fret.

At the moment there are eggs or young in a nest a fair distance away and both parents collect food here with us, collect more than a beak’s full normally could carry, collect even more and now stream in a straight line down into their own secret world to do what is natural.

Now we have established a mutual routine.

  1. I want them to come and visit.
  2. They know the way to the cheese.

There never fly around inside and creating chaos. To me they are very well behaved children; but of course in reality they are fully grown adults; with their own kids and families.

I have become a bit of a bore with my human friends, as I relate this stories as something so proudly special and wonderful; as it is to me.

In the last few days of spring Magpies are known to swoop in Mallacoota. My thought is that these magpies simply do the best to keep their nestlings safe. This does not happen here; – obviously friends do not swooped on each other.

Maybe we might all have happier stories to tell about their/our magpies if we could be nicer to each other?

At the moment there is a pair of black swans with 6 grey, gorgeous, vulnerable cygnets on the lagoon on the way into town.

Peter Kurz