A mischief of magpies – maybe

Karen Hunt

It was a quiet afternoon.

The family of magpies who had made my back lawn their afternoon tea spot were out in force, mum (or dad) and the four kids, just chillin”.

Without warning, Dad (or mum) flew in with capital punishment on his (or her) mind – and possibly murder in his (or her) heart.

I don’t know what the offending party had done – showed just a bit too much underwing at the bird bath when others were watching out? Added a flirty trill to the dawn chorus? Didn’t make sure all the kids got a worm? I’ll never know, but the punishment was swift, savage and relentless.

The attack continued for several minutes.

Tactically it was brilliant – the element of surprise followed by an all out attack, giving no quarter with the victim not having any chance to either fight back or flee. Who knew that magpies had mastered the Art of War?

The youngsters circled the battling pair uttering little cries of alarm but sensibly, keeping their distance.

And then it was done.

The victim fled. The attacker cast a disdainful glance in my direction, dismissed me as completely irrelevant, and settled down to find a grub. The kids took a quick meeting then surreptitiously moved off to the far corners of the lawn, and changed their minds about begging for a crumb.

And, once again, it was a quiet afternoon.

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