Nature Watch, Queen’s Park style

Young magpie leaving the nest for the first time

The spouse has been monitoring the activity going on in the fork of this tree in the back garden for several weeks now. Two of the world’s noisiest magpies have been raising their brood just yards from his study window. The nest building part took over a month because the parents to-be acquired a shiny wire coat-hanger and insisted on trying to incorporate it into the foundations of their treetop fortress. After accidentally dropping it to the ground from 50 feet up several hundred times, they eventually abandoned their radical construction methods and went for more conventional materials. A mixture of mud, sticks and fresh sealant pecked out of the surround of our newly refurbished kitchen window was painstakingly fashioned into the giant edifice of a nest, just in the nick of time for the arrival of the eggs.

For the next few weeks, nothing other than a tail sticking out of the top of the nest was seen until, a couple of Fridays ago, the babies suddenly appeared on the rim of the nest, looking a little unsteady on their spindly legs. After a full day of gentle coaxing, mummy magpie got fed up and gave her reluctant offspring a hefty push from behind. The spouse gave a horrified gasp as he gave me a live update on events over the phone, but fortunately our little feathered friends landed beak-first in the compost heap at the foot of the tree and survived the fall. As we left for Bute last week, the proud parents were perched on an overflow pipe across the lane, clacking away noisily in the sunshine, as their rapidly growing carnivorous brood ravaged the bin shed like pros.

None of them saw Slinky, the black and white neighbourhood tomcat, sliding silently under the garden gate and licking his lips. Hopefully he went hungry…

1 Response to “Nature Watch, Queen’s Park style”

  1. 1 kentigern June 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    that was funny!!!!

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