‘Mum,’ my daughter said firmly. ‘Don’t. Feed. The Birds.’
‘I’m not,’ I argue. ‘Not really. These are just a few crumbs.’
She shook her head in exasperation. ‘I don’t know how many times I have to tell you…’
‘But he asked very nicely…’
The bird in question (this time) was a magpie that I (rather creatively, I think) named Maggie. I also named the two older birds the same name as well as what I assume to be Maggie’s sibling.
‘Hello Maggie,’ I’d say as he’d land on the chair and watch me sip my tea. He’d (I have no idea if it really is a he) cock his head to one side and listen as I talked to him.
When his parents turn up I’d greet them the same way, ‘Hello Maggie.’
A young bird, Maggie still hasn’t got the striking black and white plumage of his parents, but his singing voice has developed beautifully. He’d sit on the edge of the chair, tip his throat back and warble. Sometimes the whole family would come down and perch on the rope fence that lined the seawall and all sing.
By the end of the week, Maggie had coaxed me out of a few of my breakfast crumbs and was brave enough to land on the table close to where I sat. ‘Hello Maggie.’
I’m aware that there are people out there who don’t like magpies – they’re usually the people who have been swooped repeatedly. I’m not one of them. I’ve never been swooped, but as some of my best friends are serial swoopees, I make no judgement about that.
The thing is, most of the swooping is done by fathers who are protecting the nests and there’s plenty of evidence, scientific evidence at that, to confirm the theory that magpies recognise and they remember. It’s why I’m sure that next time I’m in Hervey Bay visiting Sares Maggie will come down and sing to me again.
I’m late to the party but participating in Terri’s Sunday Stills. This week’s prompt was Feed The Birds.