Changes for Maggie's Family

Since our Maggie died, we have been very concerned that his family might be driven from their territory. One keeps on hearing stories about that from all over. But nothing of the sort has happened. In fact, there has been one development that has astounded me.

The gang consists of Vicky, Maggie's widow, their two-year old kids Mindy and Monty, and 2008's bub, Georgie. M&M were close to fully adult black when Maggie passed away, and in the time since they have turned completely black and become the most beautiful, sleek, adult birds you have seen. Vicky has become the leader, as might be expected.

But now here's the strangest thing. Maggie had on his side, below his white stripe, a very fine bright yellow stripe. I have never seen any other magpie show such a stripe. Magpies are common birds in Australia, they can be seen on any street corner in any residential area of any town, but in my experience at least, they are always strictly black and white. Vicky, meanwhile, had two black dots on her white stripes, which made her immediately recognisable as well.

Since Maggie departed, though, Vicky has lost her two dots and developed a fine stripe. Mindy and Monty, at times, have also shown the fine stripe. It is hard to see if it really is bright yellow or just white, but the fact remains that three of his family are able to show his unique pattern, Vicky also losing her own original pattern (though Mindy has shown two dots at time since, also).

My impression from reading and listening is that the patterns are inbuilt, much like the pattern of hair growth on human heads. But maybe that is not so? Is it possible that some part of it is a conscious choice? I am trying to get some good photos to make more sense of it all.

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..since last time?