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Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen)

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Perching Australian magpie

Perching Australian magpie

OK. It's a terrible picture, but the only one I have of a magpie in this tree. Even though they feed on the ground, when they rest they always manage to perch on the very highest branches, or else where they're at least half hidden by leaves!

The sound of magpies early in the morning is truly wonderful; notes of liquid gold that really lift the spirits!

Feelings about magpies are mixed, even in individual people. Maggies are cheeky and friendly and become very tame—and demanding—if people feed them. On the other hand they can be a real hazard during nesting time, staunchly defending their nests from anyone judged to be too close—which in reality is usually a very long way down. If you're lucky, the swooping magpie changes direction when he's just over your head; you hear a great flutter of wings, your heart races, but he's gone. Sometimes, though, that strong beak makes contact with a head, and that's painful, as well as sometimes causing a cyclist to crash.