Magpie-larks are more commonly called Peewees and from a distance can be mistaken for butcherbirds. But they are part of the 'black and white' Monarchs. They can be quite endearing until they notice their reflection in the glass, and from then on attacking the 'intruder' becomes an obsession and they incessantly crash into the glass windows or doors of the house or car. Quite dangerous for them and annoying for us.
Their relationships with the other birds varies. The noisy-miners and butcherbirds are quite happy to chase them away. Juvenile magpies will chase them occasionally, but as they grow older, they seem not to and things turn around. We've seen the peewees repeatedly attack Maggie leaving scars and even blood on his head without provoking a reaction from him. There seems to be a sense that the magpies being bigger and stronger birds must not react aggressively towards the smaller birds. But Maggie has chased them out of his nesting tree during breeding season. I've also heard anecdotes of the peewees' nests being broken by other birds. Life is not easy in the bush for any of the birds.
One of our readers, Annette, invited Ron to take some photographs of a peewee nest opposite her office window and we were lucky to get some good shots through the looking glass. Thank you Annette for giving us this opportunity.
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