In this picture Vicky magpie has just landed on the branch with some food for the young chicks in her nest.
The start of winter, i.e. June is the mating season for magpies. By July the early breeders will have laid their eggs which usually hatch 4 weeks later. The young hatchlings spend a month in the nest developing and growing before they fledge.
Vicky is a late breeder. She doesn't lay her eggs until September and it is well into October before we see her fledgelings.
Magpies tend to keep the same nest over the years unless it is destroyed in a storm or other extreme circumstances. But Vicky has changed her nest quite often.
The most remarkable time was when a few years ago she swapped nests with a crow. The crows nests are bigger and stronger and she immediately got to work to line and soften the inside. The crow on the other hand lost no time in reinforcing Vicky's old nest and making it more read more »
Our queen Vicky magpie has been free of flu symptoms for a week now, so we are cautiously optimistic that she has beaten the illness that took our pied butcherbirds Gerry and Teddles. But the visits to the nest seem to have been a false alarm; no one has been sitting on any eggs this week as far as we can tell. So we took a walk up the road yesterday and asked our magpies what's up this year.
Yesterday I looked out towards Vicky's area, and I saw her immediately drop from her nest and fly towards me. This is the first time this year she has used her nest. (She didn't build this one, she got it in a trade with a crow two years ago, so it is really tough and strong.) read more »
Bertie (below), the new male magpie has successfully won Vicky's heart.
Last week there was a new, nervous young male magpie paying us a visit. He was doing his best to show us he was brave and intelligent, and he came right up to our glass back door, and when we went outside, he would hold his ground and try to show how he was not going to be frightened, but equally he wanted to say hello and get to know the humans. read more »