Fresh back from a Christmas trip to India, we were keen to see how our birds' new offspring had managed to pull through.

A nasty head cold each kept us from doing too much treking to pay visits, but our birds obliged by bringing the babies to us. Maggie and Vicky have successfully got two kids, Mindy and Monty, advanced enough to visit our yard, which usually means they are out of the high danger period of nesting and soon after. Our pied butcherbirds Butch and Cas have one bub, Chuckie, who is still a little nervous. In the week or so since getting back, we haven't seen much of our beautiful grey butcherbirds, Larry and Harry; just two or three visits from them. The rain while we were gone has created a weed jungle between us and their main territory, so we can't go to visit yet to see how their babies have fared, nor can they bring them to our yard, as it is out of their territory. So we'll have to just keep chatting with Larry from a distance (he answers our calls!) until conditions permit a walking trip.

To view a slideshow of Monty and Mindy click here.            To view a slideshow of Chucky with Dimpy click here.

We are minding a friend's beautiful and gentle dog Katie right now, but her presence hasn't dissuaded our birds from landing round about. In fact, when our doggie guest sees the birds coming, she runs into her box to leave the yard free for them!

Lastly, we had a visit from our neighbour's magpie Billy. He brought his three (!!) new kids. They are older than Maggie's kids and much more bold. They happily landed right in front of me and lined up to say hello. I was shocked to see, though, that Billy had lost most of the feathers on his head while we were away. We are not overly worried though, because it happened to one of his sisters, Kimbie, some years ago and she recovered completely after a few months. It seems to be something that just happens with the stress of the season. Some birds can get a fatal feather loss disease, but all reports have it that magpies don't catch it. And it looks just like Kimbie's problem, so we think Billy will be his irrepressible self a few months from now.


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