Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, November 28, 2008

Baby Magpie making progress

The baby Magpie is starting to assert itself.
I have taken to allowing it to perch on a long cut branch, which I rest across the corner of my deck railing. This gives the bird the chance to watch other Magpies outside. Also I am a believer in the benefits of sunshine and fresh air. It also keeps the bird up and out of the way from Lena (the Schnauzer), who still thinks this is a new toy I have got for her to play with (or at least look at).

I figure that putting the baby Magpie outside, for a few hours at a time might give it a chance to hear other Magpies calling. The local Maggies have seen this little guy, but have not come in close to have a look. Incidentally, I sometimes play Magpie calls for it to "learn". Two recordings are available - that I know of. One is on the ABC Website. The Magpie call is filed under the letter "M". You need to have Real Player installed for the call to be played. An easier file to play is the MP3 file on the Birds in Backyards site from the Australian Museum in Sydney. Once you have downloaded these files, it is possible to play them on "continuous" mode - until I get sick of it!About every two hours, the chick decides it needs a good feed. It has taken to squawking at me, when it is in this mood. Indeed it is now doing a classic begging act - wings half-spread, and quivering (too fast for the low-light settings on the camera). That was deliberate on my part, to portray the sense of movement. The beak is open, making the begging noise we all are familiar with.Whenever the chick is inside, it now sits on a branch over a box (all the better to catch its droppings which no longer have their mucous sac).

When the bird is sleeping solidly, it tucks its head around, and over its "shoulder". The head appears to disappear. In fact it is hidden under the soft feathers on its scapular.
Here it is with the head out, but otherwise unmoved from the image above.
Incidentally, after some time of just calling it "Maggie", I have decided to christen it "Nathan", after the new Premier of NSW, Nathan Rees, who seems to see everything in black and white, and is just testing his wings, but has not yet learned to fly! Besides, my Nathan is leaving quite a lot of mess behind, which I have to clean up.
The name seems appropriate.


Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Seems to me Nathan, (the avifauna one), is in good hands. I love that outside pic.

Mosura said...

Sounds like you're doing a fine job there.

You need to make yourself a cardboard beak and crawl around the lawn teaching it how to forage for grubs. Oh and learn to do the caroling yourself - it will be more meaningful to the young bird and it will make your own job more enjoyable. Don't forget to have someone video you for future training purposes.

Seriously though - I hope it all works out.

Duncan said...

You're doing a good job there Denis. We raised an orphan shelduck years ago, it took off one windy day without even saying goodbye!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks guys.

Not everybody agrees. I had someone ring this morning to tell me what I was doing wrong.



mick said...

Don't listen to the ones who grumble! I think its a very cute baby and you're doing a great job! But I don't envy you the screeching it does when it wants to be fed.

Snail said...

Despite his mess, Nathan sounds like a well-behaved magpie. Around here you can't leave the building without one of the half-grown chicks begging for food. And they're not even orphans! I'm beginning to suspect that their parents have trained them to pester us.