Most Australians do not appreciate the magpie bird. I have to be honest i didn’t either until our tree-change. Every year we watch the news reports of magpie birds swooping city bike riders, post men and school children. In our own Village, I have viewed a number of weird and wonderful bike helmet creations, festooned with spikes; as well as ice cream bucket hats with eyes glues on the back, to deter magpie attack.
However, since moving to our rural acre, I have reflected and slowly grown a new respect, and dare I say, ever an appreciation of magpies. Most days I share two slices of bread with the birds; an assortment of parrots, galahs, plovers, minor birds, recently kookaburras and magpies. At one time we had five, yes, five bush turkeys, which was surprising as we had been led to believe that they were solitary creatures. We can only guess that the leaf mound our male created was really something and attracted a harem of ladies!
I did try leaving out wild bird seed in a dish on the ground, but it was a disaster, ending up in not only five bush turkeys but also a couple of gate crashing rats. We are on the hunt for a stylish and functional stand alone bird feeder. In the meantime, a couple of times a week I take out the bread crusts and talk with the birds.
This week, as soon as I walked out onto our patio, five magpies swooped in to sit on our fence. I walked up to within a metre of them, and as I did so they all burst into song. My husband said it was their way of saying “feed me!” . He was also worried I was about to enact a scene from “The Birds”! I prefer to think they were serenading me, “Oh lovely lady that doest feed us, how we bless you and bask in your kindness and beauty” as birds do.
They continued singing for their breakfast until I broke bread with them, upon which they forgot my very existence in their endeavors to cram as many bread pieces into their mouth before returning to their family or favourite eating spot.
In those moments I think I lost five years in age, and made a memory that many people will never experience. Beauty can be found in surprising things and unexpected moments. Slow down and enjoy the good life.