In my backyard, reside free-spirited wild magpies who are 100% free to come and go as they please. Despite the amazing bonds I have formed with a special few, none of them have been hand raised by me. Their real parents have brought them up in the wild.
I believe I have one of the most entertaining backyards in Australia with the crazy shenanigans that take place! Some of you may be familiar with our video of the magpie hanging upside down off a towel. That is the kind of antics they get up to almost daily here at “Magpie Manor”.
The games I observe them playing amaze me, sometimes they appear to be so human-like the way they play!
I’ve been observing magpies closely for several years now. You could say I’ve dedicated about 5 years of my life to them. In my free time – I study, observe, photograph, videograph, write, paint and draw them. I even create art with them – such as claw paintings they make by walking through watercolour paint and stepping onto the canvas. We even make foot molds using homemade clay!
I’ve never claimed to be an expert on magpies. The magpies have been my teachers and I’ve just been their very over-enthusiastic student, learning things about them along my journey!
I battle with anxiety, the Magpies have been great therapy for me. I’ve always preferred the company of animals than to people (especially magpies) I find animals easier to communicate with (most of the time!) I find their presence therapeutic, and it always feels great to have myself surrounded by the Magpies, they keep me company, they don’t judge me, I don’t feel anxious around them, like I do with people.
But, I’ve found a positive out of my situation. I am lucky enough to spend time with the magpies in my backyard and in return, I am able to form special relationships with every one of them. The magpies have been my best friends and light at the end of the tunnel. I love them and I think of them as family, not just birds.
When I look into the eyes of magpies I see beautiful souls. I see highly intelligent beings that have individual personalities and feelings just like we do. Each one is special, unique and has as much right to live on this earth as what we do.
While some people see them as “devils”, I see them as angels in disguise. Angels who have brightened my life during dark times and brought me such a gratifying experience of having the privilege to form special friendships with such amazing wild animals, in my own backyard.
I could not imagine my life without them, they are my feathered family. They have taught me a lot about their magpie world, which I am fortunate enough to be a part of and passionate enough to share our feel-good experiences to with the world.
One question I get asked a lot is “how do you tell the difference between all the magpies, how on earth do you tell who’s who?” For most magpie lovers, they will often agree it’s quite easy to differentiate between them. But for those who don’t have regular contact with magpies, it is often quite difficult.
I spend quite a lot of time with them, so I get to study them up close and I get to know them individually. None of them look exactly alike. Each one looks different in a slight way – each one has a distinct personality and behavior, one might have a different shaped beak, one might have a funny walk, some may have a slightly different body shape…
One dead giveaway to tell who’s who, without even seeing them, is to learn to listen to their call they make. I can tell where two of my favourites are (R2-D2 & Boots) from about 100 meters away! I have come to know their unique call and it sure comes in handy too. I don’t have to see them to know they are okay, I just have to listen out for their call to know that they are in the area and that they are alive and well.
I admit that I spoil them rotten 🙄 I’ve made a little playground area especially for them. They have a black fluffy blanket placed out on the soft green grassy lawn next to the Australian classic, the old Hills Hoist clothesline for them to play on. They have plastic balls, little windmills, giant fake sunflowers (their favourite thing to play with) stuffed toys, fake spiders, rattles, gumnuts… the list goes on. Although most times they are happy enough playing with simple things such as sticks and dead leaves. I also leave a towel, a big sheet and an old slipper on the clothesline for them to play and hang upside down off too. I swear they sometimes think that they are bats by the way they carry on hanging upside down!
My obsession for magpies started around 2011 with just one magpie, who I named Pigpie (he ate like a pig!) Five years later and I have about 28 of them visiting most days.I’ve made some wonderful magpie friends since 2011.
I started videoing and photographing the magpies and sharing my experiences on social media in 2011. It’s a brilliant feeling knowing our magpie videos and photos are having such a positive effect by spreading happiness, laughter and awareness of these amazing birds across the world! It makes me happy to know that we are making others happy 🙂
Instead of spreading fear and hate about them (like many people do) I would like to think the content that we share on our page, helps counteract such negativity towards them and will “turn the tables”, showing the world how magnificent they are and how truly lucky we are to have them coexisting with us.
Many people have contacted me describing how their views on magpies have changed since coming across our page. I hope many more will follow their lead, helping to raise an awareness of these amazing yet often misunderstood creatures of the sky.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d definitely love to come back as an Australian magpie! 😀