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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Maggie magpie and Minnie noisy-miner Keep Me Safe From A Snake

Our birds have rescued us from snakes on many occasions.  Magpies, butcherbirds (both the pied and grey species), noisy-miners and others have all played a part at one time or another in keeping us safe.  Most of the time we do not have a camera in hand to capture a photographic record of the event.  But on a few occasions we have been lucky enough to be able to do so.  

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Nest Swapping Between Magpies and Crows

Vicky magpie feeding chick in nestIn this picture Vicky magpie has just landed on the branch with some food for the young chicks in her nest. 

The start of winter, i.e. June is the mating season for magpies.  By July the early breeders will have laid their eggs which usually hatch 4 weeks later.  The young hatchlings  spend a month in the nest developing and growing before they fledge.

Vicky is a late breeder. She doesn't lay her eggs until September and it is well into October before we see her fledgelings.

Magpies tend to keep the same nest over the years unless it is destroyed in a storm or other extreme circumstances.  But Vicky  has changed her nest quite often. 

The most remarkable time was when a few years ago she swapped nests with a crow.  The crows nests are bigger and stronger and she immediately got to work to line and soften the inside.  The crow on the other hand lost no time in reinforcing Vicky's old nest and making it more

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When A Bird Chooses You For A Friend

Minnie bird - the Noisy miner The magpies were the first birds we became friends with, even though they came into yard years after the noisy miners, peewees and pied butcherbirds.  

Minnie noisy-miner (left) initiated the friendship.  For weeks she had been watching us talk to the magpies. The two species do not eat the same foods. Noisy-miners eat insects and nectar from the plants.  They love the grevillea bushes (pictured below with a rainbow lorikeet),  (experts liken it to a McDonalds for noisy-miners) and Minnie would spend hours hopping from flower to flower in our backyard.  Magpies on the other hand are bug eaters - they like to potter on the ground digging out bugs and worms. They also like a bit of cheese and bread, which should only be given to them in small quantities as a supplement to their natural diet.


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