Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Maggie’s Place - just across the road

This incredible nest and gorgeous contents belong to the likeable Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen). This pretty sight is in the leafy canopy of a tall Jarrah tree just across the road from my place. The 'magpie clan' has been busy visiting the tree with mouthfuls of grubs gathered from our garden, and yesterday I noticed there were not one but TWO nests!

This afternoon I climbed the tree to get a closer look and was thrilled to capture this series of shots. Magpies have a reputation for swooping but I've climbed many nests in the past and had no trouble. Even so, I wore a hat and was prepared for the arsenal! Interestingly though, several members of the family group came and squawked me and did the occasional fly-by, but were on the whole quite calm, sitting quietly on nearby perches to keep a close eye on me. This female (probably the chicks’ mother) was present the whole time I photographed the nest, giving me her constant, undivided attention!

Another ‘nest guardian’ was this immature magpie, who was probably in a nest himself last year. Having these birds sitting very close to me provided a great opportunity for some portrait photos of them too.

You can see in the photo at the top of the page that the birds have used several pieces of wire to build their nest with. Even an old plastic zip-tie is visible (bottom left)! The funny thing is that my neighbour recognised the green garden twine from her backyard!

Here’s a nice close up of the magpie babies to finish with. I always think how the fluffy down feathers (you can see these are fawn-coloured on the chicks below) give baby birds such a cute appearance :)
Industrial, clever, beautiful, and blessed with the most amazing carolling warbles to greet the dawn, magpies are truly a great Australian local. You just never know what amazing wildlife might be hiding close to home.

 Click this link for more photos of Australian bird nests.

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