Magpies are voted Australia's favourite bird. Like gum trees and sunshine, Magpies are a beloved part of the Australian landscape.
The nesting season is upon us. "Oh dear" say some, those affected by swooping Magpies defending their territory for six or so weeks every year.
In our neighbourhood, the Magpies are terrorised by the far smaller Willie Wagtails.
These little ninja warriors will not allow the Magpies in our garden.
Magpie nest-building commences July-August until the last fledgling leaves home.
This can be in November or December if nests are blown down by wild winds, and need a fresh start.
Magpies can have several nesting females in the group. Watching a Magpie build her nest is a wonder.
I have followed our neighbourhood Magpies for more than 20 years, knowing the personalities of many.
The centre of their world has been our corner.
This changed when someone nearby began feeding them and they moved away to nest nearer the food source over a busy street, resulting in fledgling deaths.
Now they have returned.
Magpies will defend and protect their nests especially if they have been taunted or interfered with in the past, and Magpies have a memory.
It is wise to avoid the area, and not antagonise the birds.
We live where people walk by on their way to the beach, passing the nesting trees with no trouble.
People aren't even aware the nests are there.
Our neighbourhood birds don't have a history of swooping, apart from one time primary school boys lived briefly in the neighbourhood and there was a complaint.
Sometimes "gung-ho" posties are swooped.
Postal uniforms have become bright, fluorescent yellow, and the motor bikes are larger and can be ridden faster and noisier.
On the other hand, quietly riding posties aren't bothered.
New science says that Magpies, being residential, notice people as they quietly go about their Magpie business.
They are aware of us humans, and know who is benign and who might be trouble.
So, whilst it sounds silly, quietly talk and chat to the birds throughout the year.
Or give them fresh water bird baths. They will become your friends.
Magpies Carolling At Night
Who hasn't heard the melodious carolling of Magpies at night? This song is different to their daytime tunes.
Once nesting begins, this continues each night until the chicks have fledged - so that's a harmonious, song-filled reminder to take another pathway during this time.
All-night street lighting causes Magpies to carol through the night in built-up areas.
Once this occurred on bright moonlit nights only, before all-night street lights.