Sitting on the fence

Flight of the flightless magpie

Magpies are a common Australian black and white bird.  Magpies are a contradiction to me – they warble happy songs of a morning outside my bedroom window but can also be ferocious protectors of their young in springtime, and they hate me!

They have a reputation of attacking cyclists and walkers by swooping from behind,  especially if they think you are getting too close to their young.  I have been known to refuse to ride my bike in magpie swooping season.

They scare me!

Our resident magpie

But this particular magpie in our garden doesn’t worry me at all.  He sits on the gnarly fence post watching the world go by and doesn’t go in for all this swooping nonsense. Because he doesn’t fly at all!

I actually like him – a lot!

I found this interesting article – 10 things you may not have known about magpies and learnt a great deal.

Such as:

  • Magpies occupy the same territory for their entire life. Once they find a suitable patch, they will stay there forever — up to 20 years
  • Scientists have done experiments using face masks and figured out magpies recognise other magpies, and people by their faces. Although that’s bad news if a magpie takes a dislike to you, they’re actually pretty easy to make friends with
  • Researchers have found that once a magpie knew you and judged you to be a nice person, you would have earned a friend for life. What does that say about me as they love swooping me?????
  • Magpies will often mate for life.

Fight or flight?

I wrote a post a while ago about my magpie phobia – Why do magpies hate me?

Here’s an except from my post:
In years gone by I have walked with a bucket on my head, held a big stick aloft and turned myself inside out looking for them as they came up behind me.  Others have put cable-tie spikes on their bike helmets, used an umbrella, put fake eyes on the back of their head trying to fool the birds they are being looked at. I can assure you screaming and running away doesn’t help the situation.


We have all been known to think this magpie sitting on the fence is real from time to time, especially with a quick glance,  but it’s not just us who have been taken in!  Other magpies have been known to come down to have a chat to this fence sitter, only to realise that he’s not the real deal.

I’m not at all worried that he can’t take flight, this fence sitter can stay as long as he likes 🙂

Terri’s theme for Sunday Stills is Flight and this is my take on the prompt. I hope you enjoy it!

Do you have an issue with birds or other wildlife you’d like to share? I daresay I’m not the only one who is scared of magpies.

Deb x


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What the?



  One thought on “Sitting on the fence

  1. February 24, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Oh I have a terrible phobia of birds Deb. And magpies would be on top of the list! They really scare me, maybe it’s the whole flying thing! But totally fine with spiders…Lol…

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Yes I completely understand, I’m OK with spiders but magpies do my head in!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. February 25, 2019 at 1:07 am

    I have definitely heard about the aggressive Australian magpies and how cyclists can really take a beating. I wonder why the Canadian ones don’t seem to do that? They are noisy to be sure. Your fence fellow looks like the perfect one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. February 25, 2019 at 2:35 am

    Magpies are regular visitors outside my window, but I’ve never asked them if they like me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      Maybe you should ask Clive, or maybe just stick with the status quo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 25, 2019 at 9:40 pm

        I think I’ll leave them to their own devices – they seem happy enough 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy
    February 25, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Wow, Deb, they seem fierce!
    Had to giggle about the image of you walking around with a bucket on your head! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb
    February 25, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I am terribly superstitious and if I see one magpie on it’s own, I have to salute it and say ‘Good Morning Mr Magpie’ or I’m convinced I’ll have bad luck! Unfortunately for me, some magpies have started nesting in a tree near to my house so I think I’m going to be saluting them a whole lot more from now on. The neighbours will think I’m crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2019 at 9:38 pm

      I can relate to that Deb! Just keep doing whatever works 🙂


  6. February 25, 2019 at 7:16 am

    I love birds in the wild (well, maybe except for crows) but I do have a bit of a phobia when they get too close. I’m pretty sure Magpies wouldn’t like me either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2019 at 9:39 pm

      I really don’t understand it at all Janis! I like most other birds 🙂


  7. February 25, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I love how we Australians are so nonchalant about the things that can kill you, snakes, spiders etc but are scared as anything of Magpies 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2019 at 10:38 am

      This made me laugh as it’s so true, I hadn’t thought of it like that!!!! Thanks for your great comment, made my day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. February 25, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I absolutely love Maggies. If I’m woken by one chortling outside my bedroom window I wake with a smile on my face knowing it’s going to be a good day. I always say a cheerful, “hello Maggie” when one crosses my path, and prevent Mr Tilley from frightening off, usually sharing one or two of his dog treats with them. (I know – probably not good for them, but they always remember me with cheerful acceptance when I pass their way). And don’t let me get started on the Australia Crow. Now their sound is one that would have me crying with homesickness should I hear it when in another country. Next to Maggie’s, crows are my next favourite bird,and with good reasons why. One day I’ll list all their positives, and then I’m sure you’ll love them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 27, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks so much for your thoughts Chris, I do love them in a funny way! I think your morning ritual sounds delightful 🙂


  9. February 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I’m sure that the Magpies have correctly judged you as a fabulous person, Deb. By ‘swooping’ you, they are just saying “let’s play”! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      That’s a lovely way of looking at it Donna! I’ll remember they come springtime. Thank you 😊


  10. February 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    … but like you say Deb their warbling is lovely. We have a had a family hanging around our garden for a long time. But I’m not riding a bike here. they love our big bird bath. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      So true Louise, they are very happy sounding when they sing. Hope all is well.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jodie
    February 26, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Maybe we don’t have them here much? I don’t recognize them but then again I’m not much of a bird person. In fact, we were talking about watching Hitchcock’s The Birds, and my husband talked me out of it. No need to have that fear!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. February 26, 2019 at 2:07 am

    I do t think I’ve ever seen a magpie. We don’t have them here in the states and the times I’ve befn in either Australia or Europe, I just don’t recall seeing them. So thank you for this introduction. I loved learning how they find a territory and put down roots, so to speak. I guess I could never be a magpie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:26 pm

      No I couldn’t be a magpie either Janet!! I’m glad yo introduce you to an Australian Magpie, they are very interesting birds.


  13. February 26, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Interesting, Debbie! I’ve never seen a magpie, that I know of. They are rather pretty. #EsmeSalon

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks Jean, they can be quite nice when they sing but when in swooping mode, they’re not much fun at all.


  14. February 26, 2019 at 2:35 am

    I would not want a bird swooping down on me either, Deb! Great take to Terri’s photo challenge this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks Molly! He was just sitting on the fence waiting for me to write about him. That’s a classic fence sitter move 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  15. February 26, 2019 at 2:42 am

    I enjoy birds, but not too familiar with Magpies. I don’t care for birds in flight and too close to me. Thank you for you enlightening post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for reading! I’m a bit afraid of birds that get too close to me as well. Although we have pretty colourful parrots that fly past and seem to buzz you but they’re not threatening in any way so I like them!


  16. February 26, 2019 at 6:49 am

    We have red-winged blackbirds that nest in our neighbourhood in the spring. They’re aggressive like the magpies in your area. #seniorsalon

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Thanks for your visit and comment Natalie, the red-wing blackbirds sound like relatives of the magpie!


  17. lunalyon
    February 26, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Your magpie looks real. DId you make it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 8:12 am

      No it was bought as a gift and catches a lot of people out with how real it looks. Thanks!


  18. February 26, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Interesting post about Magpies. I wouldn’t say im scared of birds but I would not like them swooping at me.. what I don’t like is dogs that jump and slobber all over me, I feel a bit frightened then..

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      I like birds usually except when they swoop me! I’m also a bit scared of jumping and slobbering dogs until I get to know them properly. Thanks for joining in 🙂


  19. February 26, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I like your fence sitting maggie much better than the real deal – I don’t think I’ve ever been swooped but I live in mortal fear of them. I’m tempted to wear an icecream container on my head with luggage ties sticking out of it (like I see some people doing) during mating season – but I’m too vain! Nice to know my phobia isn’t mine alone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      I like him much better than the real thing too too Leanne! I usually wave a stick around my head when I’m out walking (on my own) to scare them off and can become quite paranoid. You’re definitely not alone with your phobia! Thanks for joining in the chat.


  20. February 26, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    I didn’t know magpies could be such meanies, Debbie! I used to have to run from the gaggles of geese parked at the nearby pond we would run by a few years ago–they are big and MEAN! I love your magpie story and your magpie sentinel! We used to have several generations of magpies that hung around the neighborhood and would chase my (then) dog Oreo around the yard. They were on their good behavior most of the time. I fear they flew away a few years ago when the kites (big hawk-like birds of prey) and owls moved in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      Oh yes geese scare me too Terri, luckily I don’t come across too many of them! Yes magpies can be quite mean but they are only trying to protect their babies, so I try to make allowances for them. Thanks so much for sharing my post Terri.

      Liked by 1 person

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