Unusual magpie behaviour

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Jane Stilgoe's picture
Unusual magpie behaviour

I have always been interested in the Australian magpie. I have reared and released three abandoned young in the past, consequently falling in love with this bird.

Living pretty remotely in the mid north of South Australia we have many magpies and have had two families living on our property. The first family died a few years ago after a mouse infestation, I think from eating poisoned mice. 

However, this year, 2018 my husband and I have noticed something extraordinary. During a recent significantly bad heatwave we had a sudden influx of up tp twenty, fully adult male magpies in our garden seeking shade and water but they have remained in the area since, visiting every day.

Today, again, I counted 8+ on my front lawn. They are all male, beautifully fully plumaged with their stark white beaks. They are in magnificent condition; their feathers glossy black and white.

I have searched and read several articles on line and none explain this phenomenon.

i am particularly interested in why this is and would value any explanation.



Woko's picture

Hi Jane

Being in the mid north of SA I imagine you've had very little rain for quite a while & that things are pretty dry all about. It may well be that your lawn is the only piece of ground for some distance which is damp & harbours the sorts of critters on which Australian Magpies feed, heads down, bums up. Having sort shade during the heatwave they may have discovered that your patch is not a bad patch to hang about on.

Greg Lee's picture

Maybe with magpies, like crow and currawongs, young males who don't have a mate and territory form itinerant flocks that move around looking for places they can live for a while. They will probably move on when they get bored or run out of food.

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