Magpies up close and personal

Australian Magpie (black backed)

Sydney Trip June 2011

Over recent days I’ve been writing about the birds seen on the return trip from a holiday with family in Sydney. Today I want to show a series of photos taken at the Malleefowl Rest Area south east of Mildura. we had stopped for an afternoon cuppa and a light snack of biscuits. we had just sat down at the picnic table and we were immediately accosted by a family of Australian Magpies (ssp black backed), including several juveniles from last season’s breeding.

The whole family gathered on and around the table waiting for handouts of whatever food we had in our picnic basket.  I guess they are used to being fed generously by any humans who happen to drop in to their domain. If we hadn’t been smart about covering the biscuit tin they would have helped themselves.

I took the opportunity to get some very close up photos of the magpies as they sat nearby or on the table less than a metre from me. Some – like the one above – are decidedly nasty looking.

Tomorrow I’ll show several more photos.

You can buy one of my photos of a magpie on a coffee mug – click here.

Australian Magpie (black backed)

Australian Magpie (black backed)


4 Responses to “Magpies up close and personal”

  1. Louise says:

    Wow. That first one looks really evil. He looks like he’d enjoy swooping, and can’t wait til next swooping season, for his little bit of fun in life.

    • Trevor says:

      Indeed, Louise. And this one would have a new set of victims to swoop every 10 – 15 minutes seeing it’s a roadside rest area. We were fortunate – they just wanted our biscuits, not our scalps.

  2. I wonder how healthy these magpies are? Do they get overweight from their picnic spot lifestyle?
    It’s interesting to see these magpies, different from the ones we have in SA, the white backed magpie. Sometimes I see them that look like a cross between the two species.
    Magpies are such attractive birds to look at and to listen to.

    • Trevor says:

      Not very healthy I’d say Carolyn. Still, I recently read in a book about magpies that research has shown that even magpies that are fed every day still catch 70% of their food naturally.

      I like the white-backed best – always seem so clean with crisp colours. You will get the occasional cross between the races – the further you travel east from here in Murray Bridge the more interbreeding there is. Because they interbreed all races of Australian Magpies are regarded as one species.

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