baby birds

baby birds

Wild Bird Shelly Magpie Walks Into The Cage On Request

Shelly magpie (left with injured wing) and sister Nelly magpie

Juvi magpies - Shelly (left) with sister Nelly at our back door.


Will a wild bird (never handled or hand fed) walk into a cage just because you ask her to?

Juvi magpie Shelly injured herself on the day of the terrible storms resulting in the inland tsunami in Toowoomba and the Lockyer valley. She didn't come down with her family for two days. Due to the heavy rains we couldn't go out into the neighbouring paddocks looking for her either. We thought she may have met a tragic end in the storms, but when the rains stopped briefly on the third day Ron went scouting and found her sitting still in a paddock. Relieved to find her alive, Ron and I would go out to the fields to feed her when we could.  A few days later she started to walk but after 3 weeks she still could not fly.  She could only climb up tree trunks by hopping along along fallen branches that were still leaning against them as in the picture below. 

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Juvi Magpies Tumbling Around Like Puppies



Australian magpies Shelly and Nelly are about six months old. They are Vicky and Bertie's second set of kids.  They love playing around are backyard, tumbling around, playing tug-o-war, pouncing on crows and  bossing currawongs. Always on the alert, they are quick to chase goannas and snakes away or put out alarms of eagles soaring in the sky.

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Barn Swallow

Rufus fantail sitting by its nestFor years I thought these birds were Rufous Fantails.  But Sue Laing, a reader very kindly wrote to me correctly pointing out that they are actually barn swallows.

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Breaking Through The Communication Barrier With Birds

by Francesca Doria (British Columbia)
In spite of all our New Year’s wishes, 2008 hadn’t begun well for my sister and I. Our Mum was bone-marrow transplanted and had been through a hard time, and our cat Émile, that had shared half of our lives with his endless care and reassuring love, was about to die of kidney failure. He had held out to help our mother and the two of us, but now he was wearing out, silently fading away. At the time our mother’s house had been restored, my sister and I had lived in until the inner works had started, so we had to move to our own flat where our mum already dwelt.
While I was staying with our mother and Émile, my sister Paola got back to the big house to tidy up and put in order everything. She immediately called me, informing that there was a jay she was feeding every day on my window sill and a pair of magpies building their nest on the top of our secular magnolia tree.
At first I was thrilled: I had always loved those elegant, intelligent, funny and noisy birds, and that news had surpassed my wish. But being in anxious state of mind, I nearly forgot both magpies and the friendly jay, until I came back home along with our mum, Émile and our other four cats.
The magpies were still at work: the male brought branches and other items, the female observed/examined them carefully, tried them out, sometimes discharged them, and he flew back and forth trying to find the best things to fit.
magpie nest in tree
The jay was still coming, curiously watching the new incomers. There also was a couple of large hooded crows, that were the undisputed owners of that territory, from a bird’s point of view.
We came back home on 4th March 2008: Émile made a huge effort to visit once again all the rooms of the house; although many things had changed dramatically (my sister’s room had a different entrance, one of the bathrooms had been rebuilt and much more) he recognized his house, blessed it and stood with us quietly and warmly as he had always done.
On 16th March he was put to sleep: until that day the sky had been beautifully crystalline and blue, the sun had shone bright, the moon at night was big and white in a starry sky, the sea was stunningly navy blue and glittering with sun sparkling, there were breathtaking sunsets. But that day the sky grew dark, and heavy drops of rain began to fall. They got heavier and heavier, like a machine gun; although I was dazed with grief, I couldn’t help thinking of the poor birds outside, especially the pair of magpies, whose nest was under that torrential rain. The female sat on her eggs and never moved; the male brought her food.
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Purple Finches Train Novelist Resa Nelson - Part 2

Resa NelsonNovelsit Resa Nelson continues her story about how the finches in her garden trained her.

 The finches have been nesting on my balcony for years, and it's common to get two nests (at different times) in the same flower basket each spring.  I'm always fascinated by the behavior of each family because they're so different. 

It took the parents a while to train me when to go out and buy a basket (they let me know when they're ready to build a nest), as well as how I've communicated with a mother that I only want to water the plant and not harm the nest or eggs.  

purple finch mother feeding babies 

She was at first upset until I showed her exactly what I was doing, and then it was like watching a light bulb go off over her head and all I had to do from that point on was show the water bottle to her and she would fly off to let me water and stay calm instead of getting upset.


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