Inspired by Australian MagpiesPosted: May 23, 2013
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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 songbird—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.