Friday, 5 April 2013

Full nesters

A few weeks ago, I spent too much time following the antics of an almost full-grown Australian magpie that was determined not to become independent. You're all familiar with the behaviour, if not in magpies, in other birds and, possibly, in mammals as well.

The youngster traipsed after its parents, begging constantly (even when food was being shoved down its gullet) and pecking listlessly at the ground to indicate that it was starving because there wasn't anything in the fridge on the lawn.

The last straw came when one of the parents decided to spend a peaceful moment in the sun. The adult bird lay down on the grass, spread its wings to catch the rays, closed its eyes...and then found itself being trodden on by the youngster who thought that sunbathing looked like a Good Idea and that mum/dad had bagged The Best Spot, so that was where it should be.

After that incident, the parents were decidedly more distant. Hopefully, the youngster has discovered the wonderful world of foraging and finding its own spot in which to loll about.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the magpie, but here are pics of a young pied butcherbird (top) and pied currawong (bottom) hanging about in the garden. In both cases, the accompanying parent took advantage of the distraction to nip off while their youngsters were otherwise occupied. I hope they enjoyed their moment of solitude.


biobabbler said...

Now that you mention it, therein lies one of the many utilities of college: a place to go that's away from your parents, but that also understands you might need some guidance. Plus a big group of similarly situated youngsters so collectively you can figure it out. =) Hope the little guys figure it all out.

Snail said...

I'm sure they work it out eventually. There's no shortage of magpies, pied butcherbirds and especially pied currawongs here. And probably no shortage of people that feed them too! (Not me.)

All three species have the most glorious calls. :)

Stiletto said...

What? Spoilt brats among the feathered critters? Oh those poor things, I would love to mollycoddle them :)Beautiful photographs.

Snail said...

Thanks! They really are terrible whingers. Both magpie and butcherbird chicks will beg for food from other birds, as well as people. I noticed a mynah looking quite apprehensive as the young butcherbird headed towards it. :)

The currawongs are more cautious, despite being the biggest of the lot!

Anonymous said...

Here in north Tas I have a similar case with a family of Tasmanian masked owls (Tyto novaehollandiae castanops). Every night they hang around my rural garden and screech at each for hours. I've seen one bird flying to another, presumably with food - but mostly they just perch and scream. After a couple of months of this I'm hoping the young will soon grow up!

Snail said...

:) It seems as though they'll never go, doesn't it. Imagine how the parents must feel!

I'm always torn between the joy of having wildlife raising families so close to us and the hope for a bit of peace and quiet.

Motivational Speaker said...

I love Maggies but there is nothing more terrifying (no not even snakes and redbacks) in the Aussie fauna than a Magpie swooping you.