Inspired by Australian Magpies


Have you entered my double Amazon giveaway yet? I’m running it to celebrate my book deal and 1000 Twitter followers! The details are here. It ends in 2 days and 9 hours (give or take), so time’s running out!

This Thursday’s Children post flows on from my last one, where I talked about being inspired by the Australian bush. This one is about my favourite Aussie species: the Australian Magpie. It is unrelated to the European magpie, except in the very broad sense. Interestingly, its specific Latin name translates to “piper” or “flute-player” … which, when you hear it carol, you will totally understand.

A lot of Australians have mixed (or even outright negative) views about this particular bird, though. The reason is that, in spring, some male magpies have a rush of testosterone to the brain and will swoop to defend their mate and chicks in the nest. They are especially fond of people on bicycles, and I’ve heard stories from time to time about people being injured by overzealous magpies.

But to me, that aggression (which isn’t universal) is only for six-to-eight weeks a year. And their song makes up for it for the rest of the year. Because this bird is, in my not-so-humble opinion, Australia’s premiere songbirdโ€”despite its humble appearance.

Here’s a YouTube link. (The bird featured isn’t the local Canberra variant, which has a white band across the back of the neck but not all the way down the back. However, the song is the same.)

Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.

23 Comments on “Inspired by Australian Magpies”

  1. Kate Frost says:

    It has quite an unusual song but it’s quite mesmerising. Congratulations on the book deal and reaching 1000 Twitter followers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Not a bird person, but I do love Magpies ๐Ÿ™‚ As for swooping down, it happens. I’ll do the same thing if you get too close to my kids. I’ve been bombed a few times, but don’t hold a grudge.

    • I haven’t been swooped since I was a kid. There used to be a couple of birds on the route to school. And I hear you about being a protective parent – I’d do the same thing!

  3. sugaropal says:

    I think that black and white feather ensemble is quite elegant and striking. No doubt it is scary to be dive-bombed, but it’s understandable and I’d rather be chased by a magpie than a mama Black Bear… Congrats again on your book deal!

    • It’s true, as far as wildlife goes, ours doesn’t run to huge and terrifying. Small and poisonous is the most dangerous we get.

      Except for the sharks. And the crocs. Maybe just stay out of the water…!

      • sugaropal says:

        Yeah, much as I adore the ocean you couldn’t PAY me to stick even a toe in the water down under… I’ve watched too many Animal Planet shows.

  4. Beautiful birds. It’s on my to-do list to get to Australia someday. And congrats on both your big wins!

  5. Shanah says:

    That’s really neat. I could live with bird songs like that. I like getting inspired by animals. I have a soft spot for Magpies because that’s my little girl’s nickname (Magpie)… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh yeah, and congratulations on your book deal! That’s awesome! I see I have to go follow the link for imprecise pronouns too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love Doctor Who.

  6. Very cool bird! Big congrats on your book deal!!!!!!

  7. Mia Celeste says:

    Kudos on your book deal and thanks for sharing the Magpie’s song. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pat Esden says:

    Just to let you know, my Quaker parrot really loved this post! Seriously, she’s squawking up a storm and rocking her cage.

  9. kiperoo says:

    I know this is supposed to be about magpies, but CONGRATS ON YOUR BOOK DEAL! That is amazing and such inspiring news! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Huge congrats! So wonderful. Your post was greatโ€“โ€“I have a fondness for shiny things, too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. ddfalvo says:

    I’ve always been intrigued by Magpies but have never heard their song before. “Latin name translates to โ€œpiperโ€ or โ€œflute-playerโ€”–loved this. Enjoyed your post today. ๐Ÿ˜€

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