Watch out, Magpie

Australian Magpie (juvenile)

At this time of the year people throughout much of Australia are aware that the Australian Magpie is nesting. Some of our magpies are known to get very protective of the nest and the young. Getting swooped by a magpie seems to be a normal way of life in springtime Australia. For most people it can also be an unnerving experience at best and downright terrifying at worst. A magpie swooping at speed, often catching the unsuspecting victim from behind, can inflict a nasty cut. Those of us living in magpie territories learn to accept this as a part of spring and learn to even expect it.

What you don’t always expect is a magpie – possibly a juvenile just out of the nest – sitting in the middle of the road in a suburban street.

Especially at 11pm on a wet night.

On Friday night I almost ran over such a bird. Luckily it had learned enough road sense to flap out of the way in time. The reality is sadly much worse than this. While that particular bird got out of harm’s way, many thousands of young magpies do not. Road kill of young magpies – and many other species too – account for a very high mortality rate. In fact, from memory, I think more than half of young magpies who manage to leave the nest die as road kill within the first twelve months. Sad, but true.

Further reading:

Caring for injured and orphaned birds – click on this link to read how you can look after injured or orphaned birds you find.

Australian Magpie (juvenile)


3 Responses to “Watch out, Magpie”

  1. Frances says:

    Trevor: I know that you are probably far too busy to answer enquiries, so I won’t take it amiss if you don’t. It’s just that here in Wagga Wagga, I heard a bird this evening that I’ve never heard before. It had a sort-of quiet chuckling sound: at first I thought it was a lamb with a “baa-aa-aa-aa”. I saw it’s silhouette: pigeon sized, but elegant: small head, slim neck.
    I’m just hoping that you might instantly recognise what I’m talking about.
    Kind regards, Frances

  2. maddie says:

    this is depressing. we feed the magpies and both went missing last year, then the year b4 one of them went mussing. cats played a role in it too. im cathcing the feral ones in cages and if i had a gun i would shoot the neighbours ones, sadly i dont.

  3. Trevor says:

    Hi there Frances,

    I have been very busy lately – putting the finishing touches to my Master of Arts thesis! (The crazy things we do in our 60s.)

    I’m not very familiar with the birds in your area and your description has me puzzled. It certainly sounds like a pigeon or dove of some sort – but which one? Sorry I can’t be more specific.

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