Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
I’ve made a rod for my own back. Sigh. The word is out that I have been feeding my little magpie family every day outside my college window and now everyone wants in on the act . . .
Last week, just after I had put the usual crumbs out for my magpie friends, a single lonely little noisy miner turned up and skittered about the edges, helping himself to a few tiny crumbs. ‘That’s okay,’ I thought, ‘there’s plenty to go around.’ I was forgetting, of course, that noisy miners are not solitary creatures . . .
The next day he reappeared . . . accompanied by wifey and a couple of very vocal youngsters. Now, I happen to be very fond of noisy miners. There is a little family that lives in my front garden and I have spent many a happy time sitting watching them as they quarrel and bicker and bomb the water out of my bird bath—(plus they all seem to possess the same ‘grumpy bird’ expression which I find hilarious)—but OMG!!
Within a couple of days they started arriving in flocks—aunties, uncles, third cousins twice removed—all shouting and pushing and shoving and squabbling at the top of their tiny lungs. The noise was deafening. And right outside my office window! (I guess they are not called ‘noisy’ miners for nothing.) And worse—there was now no sign of my little magpie family (miners are incredibly territorial and will drive away any other birds—just by force of sheer numbers I imagine!) What to do??
Well, it seems I don’t have to do much at all. Turns out that the new visitors aren’t quite as smart as my maggies just yet. The magpies have obviously been watching the proceedings from a distance (so as not to cause further affray) and have come to realise that if they come tap-tap-tapping at my window as soon as I arrive in the morning they will be able to devour their little treats long before the hungry interlopers are even awake. The strategy seems to be working. The miners are still arriving periodically throughout the day, but with slimmer pickings their numbers are slowly reducing.
I wonder how long it will be before they catch on . . .