This is Mr Maggie. He lives in Ferrymead park with Mrs Maggie and usually two of their fledglings. They’ve been around a long time (many years I’ve been told) and happen to be the luckiest darn magpies around. For some reason, they seem to have trained half the neighbourhood to feed them (now me included). Mr Maggie will actually take food out of my hand and has trained me as to where he’d prefer the rest of the food to be placed. Mrs Maggie on the other hand, is a bit more distrustful and wants her food thrown on the roof of the house. One of the baby magpies follows Dad’s example (will be hand fed) while the other one is more distrustful. It appears that the parents each take responsibility for one chick and they learn by example. We are under fairly constant surveillance between the magpies, the sparrows, the large seagulls and the kingfishers. Having spoken to the neighbours I know their diet consists of mince, dog food, bread and I have been giving them a bit of chicken and some tuna. For the sake of the neighbour’s chickens I hope they don’t develop a taste for poultry!
I know a lot of people are afraid of and distrustful of magpies, or just really dislike them, but as a bird lover, I find it hard to discriminate against them and their obvious extreme intelligence has won me over. Come to think of it, even as a child in the country I was never that afraid of them – even when I was out horse-riding through paddocks they were defending.