An efficient mouse catcher

Australian Magpie, Victor Harbor, South Australia

A few days ago we were having lunch on our back veranda. When the weather is fine we often do this and we enjoy watching the garden birds going about their daily routines. They bring us great joy and much entertainment.

Things were a little different the other day. I’d just finished coking the BBQ and we’d already sat down to eat. Without any warning or fuss, one of our resident Australian Magpies swooped down from a nearby tree into the grass nearby. (I must get around to mowing it soon.) Next thing it emerges with a House Mouse firmly gripped in its mouth. We cheered. That’s one pest that made it into our home.

Over the next ten minutes while we enjoyed our food, the magpie repeatedly banged the captured mouse on the paving bricks until it was either dead – or very concussed. It then proceeded to use its beak to tear off bits of the mouse to eat. At one point another magpie tried to steal a bit of the tasty lunch but the successful hunter kept guard over his prize.

It made me think. I often observe the diggings of mice in the garden and in our paddock, especially when I’m mowing the grass. I guess many of these mice become magpie delicacies. They are doing us a service by dispatching them. I also know that they must eat an incredible number of bugs, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers and other garden pests. More power to the magpies, I say.

Good birding.

 

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