Come spring, when rogue magpies determinedly swoop the magpie is no one's favourite bird, except my Dad's.
Here in Australia, from September onwards magpies can start getting territorial about their nests and will swoop and attack unsuspecting passer bys. Local council never want to get rid of these pests and just call them 'rogue' magpies. Nevertheless, having spent the last 12 years walking dogs of every description, twice a day, I have been swooped myself.
As a result I am not a fan of birds. Even when they don't swoop.
So imagine the scene: my Dad's house in the hills. He has been doggy-sitting my dog all day, and now that I've turned up she's antsy to get home. I collect my bag, call the dog, and open the back door. Whereupon a magpie swoops down towards the door with a flutter of feathers.
I emit a small shriek and close the door quickly. The dog's head gets in the way. I re-open the door, let the dog pull her head in, and then close it quickly.
Turning to my father I implore, "You go first and save us from that magpie."
"Don't panic, it's just a baby. You can see he's all fluffy still. He's just wanting some food."
Last nesting season my dad fed the magpies and turned them into pets. (As you do.) Now the baby magpie thinks he lives there. In fact, he thinks my dad is his dad. Magpies as pets. Not cool.
However, dad also maintains four possums as pets. He has possum boxes for them outside in the trees, which is a better alternative than having them rampaging around in your roof. They sound like baby elephants in the middle of the night. He also regularly feeds them apples.
The possums don't bother me, the pet magpie does.
|Emma doing her infamous 'lean' on my Pa|
I'll stick to pet dogs.