Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mini Drama

An Arctic blast hit us yesterday afternoon despite the sun and blue sky.
When I left fat club, the wind almost cut me into two...but to be fair I was wearing my thinnest ( and lightest)  t shirt...btw I lost 6.5 lbs last week!
I knew the change in the weather only too well for I sat out in it for nearly an hour, perched on the wire garden chair which is situated under the growing honeysuckle by our front door.
There is a blackbird nest hidden away in the ugly evergreen shrub by the stone wall and a furious blackbird father and I was standing guard as two magpies circled and watched, stalked and plotted
their way towards the eggs.
I could have been watching a Hollywood monster movie after Mary alerted me to the initial attack with a worried bark from the back of the armchair and both of us watched as the drama unfolded like some mini dinosaur encounter.
One magpie kept the male blackbird busy as the other tried to drive the sitting female away with aggressive clicks and chatter.
The blackbirds were valiant, vociferous and surprisingly effective in the defence of their nest but the magpies were cunning and more intelligent, so bided their time, that was until, I could take the tense stand off no longer and went to sit in the garden .
Fifty minutes later, the magpies eventually gave up their vigil and looped their way angrily across the churchyard and the exhausted blackbirds finally relaxed their shouts and dropped their tails.
I took myself off for a hot bath!

This morning, the blackbird nest is empty and the only birds in the garden are the sparrow gang perched spunkily on the cottage wall.
I noted a broken blackbird egg lying in the lane by the gate.

Ps in an effort to lighten the mood watch this video of an Australian magpie attack
Very, very funny.

75 comments:

  1. Magpies are devilishly cunning. They are the Simon Cowells of the avian world while blackbirds are The Peter Kays.

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    1. Sparrows are the Ronnie Corbetts?

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    2. The tits are Ant and Dec.

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  2. Nature is cruel! I didn't know magpies would attack other birds.

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    1. They are the biggest killers of chicks!
      I have seen two peck and kill a young pidgeon

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  3. Don't you DARE come bleating to us that you're now laid up with pneumonia!

    And I absolutely refuse to be the first one to mention Hitchcock. (oh, blast and damn it!)

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    1. Ive had enough of sickness recently!

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    2. So have we, J.G. No, I don't mean it like that. If you're sick you're sick, and we've just got to accept it and send you positive thoughts - with added vibes. :-)

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  4. Local councils put up signs warning people of the dangers of magpies. And being swooped by them is, to say the least, disconcerting.
    Our magpies don't usually eat other birds. They are omniverous, but mostly eat insects, and are not related to the European magpie. They have a beautiful song too - which most Australian birds emphatically don't.

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    1. So glad to hear that Aussie magpies are not related to English ones as I love ours especially their "song". They sure can be scarey though !

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    2. The magpies here were after the eggs and chicks and not the blackbirds themselves

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  5. We currently have a dead magpie wedged up high in one of our trees. It's been there for weeks. I think Philippe must have shot it. It's rather macabre but there's no way of shifting it.

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  6. Fecking birds....I told you they are the scariest things on earth.

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  8. Cats are often blamed for the decline of a lot of birds but I think the magpies and other carrion are more likely to be to blame. Once upon a time we didn't see any magpies in the town but they are everywhere now. Let's hope your blackbirds can find a safer place to nest.
    Briony
    x

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  9. congrats on the fat club loss!

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    1. Thank you! Only four stone to go

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    2. Be alert that you're loss of body fat doesn't make you more acceptable to the cold. ;-)

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  10. That was a really good piece of descriptive writing John; well-paced, with even a deft reference to dinosaurs.

    Presumably you're feeling better now.

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    1. Yes.i had the vomirs and shits on saturday...probably helped the weight loss

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    2. The shit & puke diet. Try a couple of Picolax sachets next!!

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  11. There are just so many magpies everywhere, they are viscous birds, wish more farmers trapped them

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  12. If I were to give this comment a header I'd call it "Anticlimax".

    Oh, John, what an excellent script - there I was reading your most animated account, tension rising, imagining you on your wire (?) chair in the garden, catching cold in the middle of a war zone. Parents fighting to the death amply supported by the 6.5 lbs lighter hero you are. And then? And then it went to pot. Whatever happened to the eagerly anticipated happy ending? Now I feel all sorrowful. Disaster(film) indeed.

    U

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    1. Anticlimax? Sorry to disappoint you

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  13. I watched two magpies chasing a blackbird. The black birds mate was squawking in alarm. One magpie eventually caught it and proceeded to rip it apart and eat it. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The blackbirds mate cried pitifully for the longest time.

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    1. Ive seen them kill a young pidgeon but never an adult bird. Many of my chicks and ducklings have been chased but a magpie is no march for an angry hen

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    2. Thanks for your reply John. I guess they breed strong and nasty in Oz. I know it's only nature but it's sad all the same.

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  14. And they called my Aunt Claudia crazy when she cried from fear of the birds swooping down over her head when she went out into the garden.

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    1. The video is wonderfully funny

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  15. Super job on the weight loss!! I had a Robin's nest in my wisteria last year, one day their were 2 babies in the nest, the next day they were gone.

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    1. Magpies were probaby the biggest culprits, rooks will kill chicks too

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  16. I was hoping for a happy ending, but alas, nature can be cruel. Glad that you did not have you witness the carnage.

    Congratulations, a loss of 6 1/2 lbs in a week is quite an accomplishment.

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    1. Hopefully ill stop waddling soon

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    2. Oh yeah, losing the waddle is a major step forward.

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  17. I'm afraid once they have discovered a nest with relatively easy pickings they will get their meal eventually .

    Poor Blackbird family :-(

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  18. Magpies can be very determined; Welsh ones especially so. Sad tale.

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  19. Seagulls are the bane of my life at the moment, they're looking to nest on the rooftops, and once chicks hatch are vicious b*****ds, years ago next door had a nest and every time you went out to the bin or shed they would attack, the noise at 5.00.am is awful, and then the chicks
    hang around till late summer. They seem to be double the size that they were years ago I think they just feed on junk food now and don't go out to sea anymore.

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    1. Debbie, an effing seagull robbed me of a prawn sandwich outside marksthe other week!

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    2. So ... do Welsh seagulls make a different sound than, say American seagulls ?



      LOL

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    3. Yes they have sing song accents

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    4. LOL, I think you need to go out and record some for us / me ..

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  20. I had a wren nest I was watching one year and one day the eggs were broken on the ground. another time I noticed a mockingbird in a nest and after seeing no activity for days I checked and checked again. the bird had abandoned three eggs.

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    1. ellen, that is so sad :(

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    2. I just watched the video again and laughed even harder. Her face ... keeping on pedaling that bike !! lol, hilarious.

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  21. Magpies! They almost caused my two kids (year 7 and yr 10) kids to escape back to the US. We were sent to Australia for business and as they stood at the window on the first day of school complaining about their "gross" uniforms and hoping the Aussie kids weren't weird, they looked out to see about 6 neighborhood kids running up the street screaming! They all had square ice cream buckets strapped to their heads with eyes drawn on the back (no, that doesn't work). The look on my kids faces when they turned around was indescribable! Australia ended up being the best experience imaginable but we could have done without Magpies! Nice weight loss! Sorry so long!!

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  22. Poor birdies...but oh my goodness that video is hilarious.

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  23. My husband once saw a Blue Jay snatch a newly hatched sparrow from the nest and fly off with it. Just awful.

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    1. It is very upsetting, this Mother Nature thing is not all it is cracked up to be ... killing babies ??? feh ..

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  24. The crows are the culprits around here. Sometimes nature seems so cruel ...

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  25. Oh that is so horrible. We had the same thing happen to a pair of blackbird's building a nest in rather an open shrub right under an oak tree where magpies gather (there were 15 the other day like a gang of thugs). I was alerted by the male blackbird trying to fight off the two magpies who were mobbing the nest. I sat on the bench by the shrub and kept on lobbing small stones at the pair of magpies. They seemed to clear off then but the next day under the shrub were two broken eggs and one very small dead baby blackbird, no sign of the male blackbird but the female was sitting on our neighbour's fence with a chest wound dripping blood. I could have wept. Blooming magpies. Regards Sue H.

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  26. Last year a hen pheasant laid a clutch of eggs by our front porch, well hidden by aquelegias. Over the course of one day the magpies emptied the nest of eighteen eggs. They are wicked things. Once they have located a nest they never give up, knowing that sooner or later they will get their chance.

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  27. The Quail are hatching and tiny pebbles with legs are following the Mum. So our Roadrunners are feasting on the eggs and babies, out of a clutch of 8 to 12 babies maybe 2 will survive.

    cheers, parsnip

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  28. I feel too sad to even watch the video now.

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  29. Nature is cruel. Only twice have we had blue tits nest in our garden and on both occasions the chicks had just hatched and were taken. Very upsetting. The video on the other hand, hilarious.

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  30. When I was backpacking round Australia "as a young lass" we stayed in a youth hostel on the east coast (Maroochydore springs to mind). At the hostel there was a sign posted on the wall to "beware of the thieving magpies". I gave a knowing nod to my friend and she tapped the side of her nose to show that we had both understood the cryptic message - lock your valuables away right! Then we both got chased all down the street by the sodding magpies! That video is just hilarious though. Oh, and well done on the weight loss - are you at Slimming World? Anna

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    1. Weight watchers! Or fat club

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  31. Those Aussie magpies are more feared than ours, I think. I've been scaring magpies away from my local nests too. I have to say I was disappointed. I expected a drama with you in a mini skirt.

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  32. I remember now I saw 5 blackbirds in pursuit of a magpie and gaining ground . . . looked to me like it could be curtains . . .

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    1. I remember now it was a jay not a magpie. Same crime in the eyes of the pursuing lynch mob probably.

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  33. This is sad. I love a blackbird song.
    Greetings Maria x

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  34. All nature's children have to eat, but most days I hate to think about it.

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  35. IN Phoenix, Arizona they have these nasty big birds called Grackles that leave victim body parts all over the place. We once saw a dove sit in mourning on a rooftop for the longest time watching over its mates corpse. So sad. I wonder if grackles are like magpies

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  36. Grackles are like crows, aren't they ?

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  37. That's just like you John to help the blackbirds watch over their babies. I was a little sad and then Oh my gosh, that was hilarious. Again, you've made my day. I have tears of laughter running down my face. My boss is wondering what the heck is going on!

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  38. Oops, left out that it was the video that made me laugh not the birdies

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  39. Funny video, Magpies seem very aggressive, more than crows I guess.

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  40. Ohh my gosh, I'm still laughing!

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  41. Bravo on the poundage. That wasn't funny to me...I was really frightened.

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  42. Thank you for lightening the mood.

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  43. Fantastic weight loss - good work!

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  44. LOL, love our local Aussie Maggie family. Actually ours would never swoop us, but the mama is rather tame and a bit bossy and will peck me on the bare toe when I am out doing my morning practice if I don't give her a treat. :D

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