Billy's Bubs

I mentioned a while back that our neighbour's magpies, Billy and Polly, had had three or four bubs, and then I said I hadn't seen them around. Today Billy came down to see us after Maggie had gone off to his back paddock, and he stacked his beak and flew into the tree, where there were two bubs waiting. Good old Billy, who couldn't think about anything but his own stomach for years and who gave his poor old dad (now departed) apoplexy trying to get him to behave like a decent magpie, is now dutifully fathering his own kids. Good on you Billy!

Of course, the fact that he waits until Maggie is well out of the way and then sneaks down isn't decent behaviour, according to magpies, as one should always show the other magpie when you plan to flout his wishes. But one thing at a time! His mate Polly is more respectable: when she comes down she always loudly bleats to let Maggie know, and then Maggie chases her away. Sounds peculiar, but the idea is that eventually Maggie won't chase her away, and when that day comes, she will have full permission to land in our yard. It's going to be a slow process though, because Billy and Polly have access to our neighbours' dog's dinner bowl, and Billy isn't above chasing poor Ted away when he wants a feed. So Polly herself very seldom come to our place, so the whole thing will probably be in slow motion for quite a while.

So, good news that at least two of Billy's bubs have survived, but tragically Vicky's Josie has truly vanished, and is almost certainly perished somehow. Vicky is now feeding another bub or two in her alternative nest (she has about three of them). Poor Sophie, who lost her bubs too, is still miserable and Gitie always spends extra time chatting with her to give her a bit of a cheer-up. All in all, the weather this year has done in a lot of baby birds, including the noisy miners, even though it hasn't seemed overly worse than other years. But one noisy miner mum has brought her baby to our yard, so, though late in the season it may be, it's still good news.

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