Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We missed bird week!

But here is one you might have been swooped by lately if you're unlucky, find out why:

The Australian Magpie is one of Australia's most widespread and recognisable bird species, they are black and white but the plumage pattern varies. The nape, upper tail and shoulder are white in males and grey in females. Groups of up to 24 birds live year round in territories that are actively defended by all group members. The group depends on this territory for food, roosting and nesting requirements. Magpies walk along the ground searching for insects and larvae.

Photo credit: Portrait of a Magpie / raider of gin / CC BY 2.0

Although quite tame, during breeding season (late August to early October) some individuals become aggressive towards intruders, including humans who venture too close to nesting sites. The nest is constructed in the outer branches of a tree, up to 15m above the ground and made up of sticks and twigs, with the inside bowl lined with grass and hair. The Magpie has a complex musical, warbling call which is one of the most familiar Australian bird sounds. The pitch may vary up to over 4 octaves and mimic over 35 other species, including native birds, horses and dogs. Magpies living in close proximity to humans have even been known to mimic human speech. Pairs of magpies take up loud musical carolling to advertise and defend their territory.

Thanks to Rhonda for the info!

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