The Australian Magpie is famous for its beautiful singing and is somewhat notorious for the swooping-attack behaviour of a minority of their number in the vicinity of nests with eggs or young. Magpies are a highly intelligent and social bird, and will readily befriend those who take the time to interact and develop trust with them. Less well known is the attentive and selfless parenting they give their young.
Around Apollo Bay (on the southern coast of Australia) magpie communities are plentiful. They tend to spend their life in and near their chosen territory. Their contribution to the morning birdsong is a joy. Readers of this blog have met Maggie before, a male magpie with whom I have developed a friendship. Being spring, Maggie has a youngster in tow again, learning the ropes and being spoilt by Dad with food and regular orientation tours of their territory. I have known Maggie for a few seasons now, and he boldly and engagingly takes food from my hand. He will also come to me when I call if he is in the neighbourhood.
I keep specially prepared food morsels in the fridge, which Maggie regularly enjoys. But with junior in tow, he will invariably give the first one or two offerings to his skinny and rowdy sidekick who is nearby but not too close, squawking, flapping his wings and holding his beak wide open waiting for food to be inserted.
This sequence of photos captures this routine on our deck a couple of days ago.