Magpie

Australian Magpie

Birds can communicate without words

Since meeting Maggie Magpie and being introduced by him to magpie families and to many other species of birds, Gitie and I have become increasingly and profoundly impressed by their high intelligence and, yes, wisdom.

Maggie bright and cheerful
Maggie Magpie

I find it sad that scientists often automatically assume that only humans "think" or are "conscious". I have never quite worked out what they mean by that, because it doesn't take much looking to see intelligence in a great many other animals. Ask a cat owner!

The way contemporary animal behaviour scientists see the world is, in my opinion, profoundly unscientific. Their reasoning seems to go like this: animals do not think, they merely respond to instincts; they don't have feelings, they just react as their instinctive programming determines; humans, on the other hand, have a qualitatively different kind of intelligence and language and can construct uniquely 'human' realities like love, loyalty, and ethics, and can invent institutions like property ownership and inheritance.

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Vicky's sitting on her nest

Vicky greets us when we pay a visitYesterday Gitie and I went to see how Vicky and Bertie are doing this year on the nesting front. Although Vicky's nest is in line with our breakfast room, it is distant and we have not been able to set up the telescope this year. So imagine our delight when we found Vicky sitting proudly on the nest. The nest is in a tricky spot, so Gitie stayed by the road while I went through the paddock to the nesting tree. This is the tree that Vicky and Maggie purchased from a crow some years ago, giving the crow their old tree and nest in return, as well as rights to get food from their human friends (us) for a year). The crow made Vicky's old nest bigger and stronger, while Vicky lined the crow's nest with lots of soft material.

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The Magpie Winter Season

Our birds have had a strange winter to deal with: overcast most days instead of sunny, cold days, but some warmer nights as the clouds keep the heat in.

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Babblers and Magpies - A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed

babblers frolickingBabblers although larger than noisy-miners are still small, gentle birds that can be easily preyed upon by hawks and other predators.  They stay in their family groups, constantly moving and flitting about so as to confuse any hungry eyes watching them with  the wrong intentions. They are generally very shy and quite nervous birds and don't project the immense self-confidence that we've seen in quails for instance.

They like hovering in muddy patches, or near gravel, stone, logs and barks looking for insects.

We noticed their friendship with the magpies soon after we became friends with Maggie and his sisters Cindy and Tammie. 

 

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Inter-species Friendships in Birds

Maggie magpie and Minnie Noisy Miner best friends

 We've been observing the wild birds who live freely in the trees around our home for ten years.  Many of them are our friends. We know them by name, shape, looks and habits.  They all know their names and each others' names.  They call the one we ask for, often going into the valley to find them and bring them back.

Many naturalists say that the different species don't interact with each other.  But our experience and observations tell us otherwise.  The birds have amazing friendships with birds from other species, even other animals and certainly with us humans.  They are

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