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?



42 Replies to “Sitting on the fence”

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

    1. 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!


  5. 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

    1. 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.


  6. 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

    1. 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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