Lower Plenty: 3093/6:02:58pm [Artimidae]

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The Australian Magpie has had a long and chequered history being assigned various classifications over the years.  In 1802 it was Coracias tibicen from the Latin for flute player in recognition of its distinctive call. In the very early days of the colony it was known as a Piping Roller and various Aboriginal Tribes also had their own specific names for this ubiquitous bird but most of us know them as Magpies. The early settlers liked to name plants and animals that reminded them of their European counterparts and this bird looked so much like the European Magpie that it was assumed to be the same bird. Not so. And there still does not seem to be agreement with some sources saying that they are Artimidae and others insisting that they are Gymnorhina.

In spring they are renowned for protecting eggs and nests by swooping on unsusecting pedestrians and cyclists who get too close for the birds comfort. No self respecting walker in our local park would be seen without a protective stick to wave them away. But it is in summer that the humble maggie comes into it’s own. The carolling of these birds is what we hear when we awake early in the mornings of  long summer days. There is nothing much else that says summer more clearly to me than this.

27. Black and white

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~ by korechronicles on January 25, 2009.

4 Responses to “Lower Plenty: 3093/6:02:58pm [Artimidae]”

  1. Love the description of this guy – I have never seen one! Great image for black and white!

  2. I’ve heard of magpies but never seen one. Thanks for sharing all the info about the bird and the link to the video. That call is so unique. It sounds at times like a shortwave radio being tuned in. Really interesting!

  3. My first thought was to throw my arms up to protect my poor eyeballs. I got swooped aplenty as a kid, scars yet to fade.

    Those little shits hurt of the back of your noggin.

    J

  4. What an extraordinary noise the creature makes.

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