Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If you go down to the woods today ...

... you'd better go in disguise, preferably with a bucket on your head. And leave it there for the next month or two.

Because for about a week now, and again this morning, I have been hearing a lot of the audible golden syrup that is the call of the magpie, both from out in the street and down in the bushland lite that is my back yard. Apparently ThirdCat's mister got swooped some time ago already, though I can't now find the place where she tells that story.

I can remember my cousins in the country riding their bikes down the hill to the township to get to school, and every magpie nesting season they'd have to steer with one hand and hold their school cases over their heads with the other. They got very good at it.

13 comments:

ThirdCat said...

An ice cream container (empty and cleaned of course) turned upside down on your head from now until October. And draw eyes in thick black texta on the ice cream container. I have heard too, that a stick held on the top of your head is good, because they go for the highest point. But I'm not sure how you hold the stick on your head for two or three months.

word verification says: huftnnq

Pavlov's Cat said...

Some kind of headband might work. But I think my neighbours think I'm quite strange enough as it is.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh and 'huftnnq' is what you say when their dirty great sharp beaks dig into your scalp.

fifi said...

Yes, i wore that icecream hat, sans texta eyeballs.. they seem to go for redheads and blondes most, so I was entertainment for the rest of the dark-haired street for my whole loife I tell ya.

Sheer terror, and much howling on my part.

I don't know what's wrong with contemporary magpies, they don't seem to peck anyone round here.
Must be mutants.

Bernice said...

They are terribly smart birds. If it possible, begin to feed them. Not much, just enough to show you care. & better still by hand. Certainly as close as possible. They will recognize you, & will not swoop, dive, peck or otherwise attempt to drive you away from their territory. Or else make a late primary boy run in front of you every time you leave the house.

Suse said...

"Audible golden syrup"

That is quite beautiful.

tigtog said...

Ah yes, I distinctly remember having to learn how to cope with the magpie swoop after leaving the urbs of Newcastle for the edge of Deniliquin (long before the Ute Muster was a twinkle in some Deni entrepreneur's eye).

Took me a while to realise just exactly what the fuck was going on, being a blow-in and all.

Mindy said...

Bike helmets maybe? You could just pretend your bike is close by.

Word verification 'umnubf' the sound you make while trying to dogde a magpie.

Ampersand Duck said...

I remember reading some bird expert saying that the most beautiful sounds come out of magpies when they're just about to be their most savage.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thanks, &D, that's very good to know ...

There is no available child for me to use as an early-warning canary, so it looks as though I may have to use a stick, ice cream container or bike helmet to get the twelve feet from the door to the car. There are two big trees out the front of my house, one on either side, and yesterday when I went out there I counted two maggies in one tree and seven in the other.

And they were all looking at me.

meggie said...

Oh Fark indeed!

redcap said...

Happily, the only time I've ever been buzzed by a maggie was when I I was rollerblading and was wearing a crash helmet. No scratches for moi :)

Bwca said...

I am next to a pine forest and surrounded by magpies carolling like the Dickens at midnight and well after I am in bed.
They are so high up in their trees that I guess they don't feel threatened, as there is no day swooping.
Bernice is right about making friends with urban maggies though. mince is their favourite thing.
Their singing is worth the trouble of putting up with nesting time.