Lynell's Maggies - Part 2 - A New Generation
Reader Lynell sent us more news about her friends Mummy and Daddy Maggie:
16 March 08
Today I have some very sad news. My lovely Daddy Maggie died this morning & his wife Mummy Maggie is now being attacked by 6 other magpies who are trying to take over her territory.
It all started when I was woken this morning by my Magpies calling. I knew something was wrong but when I opened the front door I couldn’t see them anywhere. I went to my office & looked out the window which gives me a better view of our street. There across the road was Daddy Maggie on the ground flapping his wings, trying to fly & his mate Mummy Magpie was yelling at him to “Come on, Get Up Off The Ground”. I quickly grabbed a towel, told my hubby to get out of bed & we went to help. Daddy Maggie couldn’t walk at all, he just fluttered around on the ground. We threw the towel over him & I brought him back home to our front porch with Mummy Maggie trailing behind us. Daddy Maggie was screaming, Mummy Maggie was screaming , both of them very scared & frightened. When I took the towel off him to get a better look I realized that the whole Noisy Miner population in our neighbourhood were hanging upside down from the porch gutter, so they could get a better view of what was happening. There were about 30 of them!! All of them were talking at once! The noise was deafening. Daddy Maggie was in pretty good shape, he settled as soon as I took the towel from over his head & he could see it was me. He stopped screaming which stopped his mate screaming too. I checked his legs & they seemed ok, no blood anywhere, his wings looked good too, no scrapes, scratches or injuries of any kind. It was just that he couldn’t walk. My hubby got a box & we put him inside it & left him on the porch with his mate still sitting on the porch handrail above him, waiting & calling for him. I rang Wires & the lady said she thought he had a Virus which attacks Magpies legs & is very prevalent in our area at the moment & to try to get him to our local vet in a hurry. We quickly got in the car with the box, me crying the whole way there, very distressed. I had to leave him with the receptionist staff who promised they would ring me to let me know what was happening to him. I explained that he was like a pet & he was my friend. We drove home very sad. When they rang to say they’d had to put him to sleep, I was just devastated….. his mate Mummy Maggie was still sitting outside calling for him, which has gone on for hours now. About 6 or 8 other Maggies ( 3-4 pairs) have arrived & are fighting over WHO is going to take this territory for their own. My lovely Mummy Maggie is being beaten up & pecked unbelievably. I was running from house to house following them as they attacked her, trying to save her. I’m sure all my neighbours think I’m a crazy woman running up & down the street with a towel in my hand!! I came inside to ring Wires to see what I could do & they said I can try to rescue her ( which isn’t an option as she’s fit & healthy, but still small in comparison). Or it would be best to let nature take it’s course & let the other birds attack her until she gets the hint that she’d better . I’m so upset & wish there was something I could do for her….
I’ve attached pics of my lovely Maggies for you to see.
21 Mar 08
I am getting better since I realized that it’s not my responsibility to keep the birds safe & that I did the best I could under the circumstances. It is the circle of life, as one dies, another comes in it’s place. I just have to trust in Nature & that it will do as Nature does best. It was too late to ask the vet if I could have Daddy Maggie’s body as they said it was a virus & would probably have been contagious to other birds in the neighbourhood. I read that over 250 cases of this had been reported in this area (Central Coast NSW ) since November 2006… that’s a lot of birds! I don’t know the name of it though.
A few days ago…. Maybe Wednesday, I heard Maggies out the front of our house, so I had a look through the door & there were two sitting on the telegraph pole opposite our house. I got some cheese & walked out onto the verandah. As soon as the female Magpie saw me, she came flying straight toward me & landed at the bottom of the verandah steps…( where I would normally feed them & talk to them)...she puffed herself up big, lifted her head up in the air & let out this almighty call! I felt she was telling me she’d come back! She was about 5 feet away from me so I threw a tiny piece of cheese to her & she ate it. I wasn’t sure if it was Mummy Maggie or not, but the other magpie with her (a male) flew down but wouldn’t come anywhere as close as she did. He was very wary & skittish. He let out some calls as if to tell her ‘she’s a crazy woman, for getting so close to a human’. I threw more cheese & they both ate it. I wonder if it is my Mummy Maggie with either a new man in her life, or whether it’s her baby from last year who left. She could have gone to get him & brought him back I guess? I came inside & grabbed the camera & my mobile phone. I rang my hubby & he believes it’s HER, I on the other hand am not so sure….. I don’t want to get my hopes up… in case it isn’t her. I took some photos of them both but I can’t tell the difference. Every female Magpie looks the same to me.
I’ve attached pics of NEW Maggies & pics of Old Pics. I’ve had a couple of days to watch & listen since then, & the New Pair have been back every day, they’re flying to several trees in the near vicinity (which my Maggies previously didn’t go to), There is an awful lot of warbling & calling going on around the area, especially in this street. l since Daddy Maggie died. This afternoon my brother called over & he & my hubby & I watched the New Pair as well as 2 other pairs all divebombing each other in the tree next door. Trying to knock one particular bird off it’s branch. It’s mate (or whoever) was helping protect it. Then they all flew very high up in the sky & we watched in awe as they all divebombed each other in mid flight. It reminded us of watching a movie about WWII …. Planes flying & attacking each other in mid air. I’m trying to distance myself from it a bit, as I keep finding myself going to the front door at EVERY CALL I hear! That’s not good for my sanity.
26 Aug 08
Mum & Dad have nested in a tree in the backyard opposite our house, so I can see the nest. I just have to walk out the front door & wave my hand & they come straight to me..... they are very observant, they don't miss a trick in this neighbourhood.
14 Oct 08
Just thought I'd let you know my exciting news :-) I've been feeding my Female Magpie & her new Male partner for a few months now. They have been nesting in a tree in the backyard of the house opposite us. Occasionally we would hear a little squark coming from the nest & have been very excited, waiting for Mum & Dad to bring the new baby to us. Well today we were amazed to find a baby in the tree outside our house & were thrilled to bits to see it, but then we discovered there was another one with it.... So there were Two babies all along. No wonder Mum & Dad were coming to my door & calling for me three times a day!! Find attached some photos of Mum, Dad & Babies taken today, in the front yard of my next dorr neighbours house. The babies have been named SQUEEK & SQUARK .
27 Oct 08
Here are the latest photos of my Magpies. I have finally settle on names for all four of them!! Mum & Dad are now called Mister & Missy Magpie & the babies are Squeek & Squark. They come everyday to be fed & are such a joy. Tonight when they came Mister was his usally hungry self, however Missy didn't want to take any food at all even though she put her beak to my fingers. She then coughed up a huge brown thing, that I can only describe as bug stuff......looked like the shells of black beetles in a lovely brown mess. Yuck!! She left it on my porch & I'll see if it's still there tomorrow....? She still wasn't hungry but she did hang around while Mister got enough food for him & two babies :-) I only noticed recently that Missy has one toe missing its nail, and half her tail feathers are deformed, she has trouble with her flight, as it's difficult for her to land straight, the right side of her tail feathers are only half as long as the other side. If she sees me outside, she comes flying at 100 miles an hour......her landing is far from perfect. Yesterday I saw one very shiny black feather sticking out at a very strange angle on Missy... I mentioned it to my Mum who lives 4 doors up from us (Mister & Missy are regulars at her house now too....as they see me going there :-) When I came back from Mum's there was one lone feather in my front yard...it was Missy's, so I truly felt as if she'd left me a lovely present. It is the softest, shiniest feather I've ever seen. I'll keep it forever :-) The babies Squeek & Squark are very lovely, they adore each other & I watch them pruning each other. I was amazed to see them try to feed each other as well. If Mister or Missy delivers food to one of them, they will share it with the other :-) Very early every morning Mister & Missy bring the babies down to our front yard to hunt for bugs.......they are very careful to show the babies exactly HOW it is done.....however, the babies have NO IDEA!!!! They just can't get the hang of it..... they sqeek & squark at their parents for food, yet they can't pick up a bug from the ground when their parents have shown them one. Maybe they are too young yet? I'll try & take more photos as I get time. Hope you enjoy my Maggies story.
24 Nov 08
Just wanted to let you know that one of my baby Magpies (Squark) has gone missing. One day it was there, the next day it wasn't. I'm not sure what happened, but only Missy, Mister & baby Squeek come now. Missy grabs food from my hand & flies off down the street (as if she's going to take the food to baby Squark) but then it seems like she suddenly remembersn that baby isn't there & she returns to me. She called out for a day but now her time is spent trying to fill the other baby Squeek's belly with food, They are clever as they have taken to calling me from outside my bedroom window at 6am......sometimes I get up, sometimes I don't. Luckily they aren't dependent on me, if I don't come out, they just go hunting.
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