Sunday, December 12, 2010

Annoying juvenile

There's been a persistent loud keening whining noise around (mostly) the Eastern side of the cottage. It's a juvenile magpie trying to harass its parents into handing over the food.

They are noisy. While the normal adult magpie's song is one of the most pleasing and characteristic sounds of the Australian bush, as the Wiki article says:
Fledgling and juvenile magpies emit a repeated short and loud (80 dB), high-pitched (8 kHz) begging call.
(85 dB over time needs hearing protection for humans.) I can see why magpie parents go off their offspring, but with a beak like that, I'm surprised we don't find more young magpies 'Stabbed in the garden with a mystery sharp object'.

Of course to most Australians, magpies are a more personal threat, magpie swooping in the breeding season is something that can be a real challenge. It's worth noting that the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) has nothing to do with the European bird, and is yet another example of a creature getting named by homesick immigrants. A good article on magpie swooping and the background here. Mostly, though they are no trouble - a lot less to us than we are to them, and they are a great bird to have around.

Just avoid the juveniles.


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