Monday, September 15, 2008

Them Crazy Aussie Magpies!

Dylan and I have come face to face with Aussie madness in a most unexpected form - from our feathered friend, the Aussie magpie.

Now that spring is upon us (today being an exception because it was raining the whole day), I always look forward to bringing Dylan to the nearby playgrounds in the morning when the sun is out. A few days ago, we set out bright and early in the morning to do just that. There's a simple playground just 2 minutes walk from where we live - a couple of slides, a see-saw, that kind of thing.

Unknown to us, however, we must have unwittingly stoked the ire of a resident male magpie. a kind of largish bird with black and white feathers on its back, native to these parts.

Dylan was taking his 4th turn going down the slide when completely out of the blue, I spied from the corner of my eye a mess of black and white menacingly swooping down on me.

Out of pure instinct, I screamed and flailed my arms about my head, and watched this harbinger of doom swoop back up to the branch of a nearby tree. Also instinctively, I ran over to Dylan at the bottom of the slide who looked rather haplessly at his mother suddenly gone crazy, and swept him up in my arms while screaming these exact words "Go away you stupid bird!".

I glared at the bird, now loitering close by on the ground, eyeing us with equal suspicion. Next thing we knew, it took flight again to build altitude, before swooping dangerously close to our heads, eliciting another scream from me as I bundled Dylan up and started running away from the park.

Thankfully, other than the school nearby we were in a pretty quiet neighborhood, so I attracted no further attention. But the hairs of my neck were now standing on end, and we quickly walked back home.

Disturbingly, the magpie stalked us, making two further menacing swoops, and punctuating each trough with a "Caw caw! Caw caw!" before flying up to the telephone wire, until we were properly out of his territory.

Dylan had the benefit of looking over my shoulder and watching this whole fiasco unfold. When we got home, he said "Bird!", made a swooping motion with his hand, and said "-Cared" (scared!). I said, yes, son, mommy is really scared!

So I did a bit of investigative research - and uncovered thanks to Google Search this article titled:

Magpies Behaving Badly

Who knew! Wish we were warned. Apparently magpies are generally harmless in the urban areas because they are so used to humans. But out here in the rural parts, they have a reputation for being aggressive around open parks with trees in August/September for a period of about 6 weeks when they have chicks in their nest.

Oh well, looks like we have to scout out a different playground (one that's NOT stalked by magpies) for the next few weeks...

1 comment:

  1. hi, been reading your blog. just want to share with you. wear a hat with a scary looking character face on top (e.g. this cartoon/puppet character called "Agro" i think...quite popular children show in oz last time when i was there...)...that should scare those birds away...yes i saw a few so aggressive, they even chase a cyclist, kept landing and pecking the top of his head..the poor guy cycled as fast as he could to get away...