Archive for February, 2010

Smug parakeets and resourceful magpies

Written by Lucy Brzoska

monk-parakeet-eats-bread

There was a strange crackling sound coming from above. The lime trees were filled with parakeets crunching on crusty pieces of bread, which they held securely in their claws.  They were releasing a fine shower of crumbs, which the pigeons below waddled after.

magpie-watching-parakeets

Magpies observed the scene, frustrated by their own innate caution, which won’t allow them to approach people scattering food for birds.  Instead, they resorted to chasing the smug-looking parakeets to make them drop their booty.

happy-monk-parakeet

But magpies have their own tricks.  They dare to disappear right inside the litter bins in their search for discarded sandwiches, throwing silver foil about.  They also keep a close eye on occupants of park benches.  The second someone gets up, they parachute down, tails held high, and quickly scour the area.

magpie-inspects-bin

A long, shimmering tail is a sign of a healthy bird and a desirable mate. Magpies with the most resplendent tails breed earlier and are more successful at rearing young, studies have found. Unusually, this magpie was using its tail as a handy prop while exploring holes in the wall.  In this case, a few worn and dishevelled feathers would only betray its owner’s resourcefulness.

magpie-explores-wall