Magpie Family, gouache paint, copyright by Paula Kuitenbrouwer
We have a magpie family in our garden. Initially it worried me that their presence would result in having very few songbirds. Luckily, this isn’t the case. We have a variety of songbirds. As long as you feed your bird, they will visit your garden.
Magpies are very smart and charmingly funny. They walk in our garden like it is theirs. They might be right, because who owns a garden anyway? Humans because they have laws on ownership? Magpies live by their own set of rules on dominance and territory.
But not all is happy in a magpie life. When magpies are facing food shortages, they start feeding only one young. You don’t need to have a degree in ethical thinking to understand how unbelievably stressful and sad that must be for a magpie family.
My magpies have one young, but that is because a storm has been battering their nest. There is plenty of natural food in our garden and there is a bird-feeder with scrumptious snacks. One parent sits relaxed, guarding their young, while the other parent tenderly feeds it. Their young looks strong and demanding, precisely how a magpie young should look and behave. It will nag its parents for a considerable part of the summer till the parents tell it politely to buzz off, no…of course not, they probably start to ignore it or give it a nasty peck. By that time, my family has had sleepless early mornings thanks to the magpie screeching. At such moments you know absolutely sure you will ban them from your garden. But later in the day, you seem them proudly walking and smartly communicating, maybe even playing, and… ah well…next year…likely….maybe.
Magpies, you got to love them…