Now that the Lockdown weather has started to warm a little, Brad sets up his work-from-home office on the back deck, with a camera always nearby. Looking out over one’s backyard for eight or nine hours a day is a good way to keep tabs on the local wildlife (and a good way to take many, many more photos than could ever be necessary!)
Arriving one morning as though she had owned the backyard for some time, and showing very little trepidation around humans, this Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) has become a regular visitor. The easily accessible cat-food may be a factor.
Because her left wing seems to droop, we called her Lefty. An injury? Something she was born with? Impossible to say. While it does not seem to affect her flight in anyway, perhaps learning to live with the injury has made her less timid and willing to risk approaching humans.
Australian Magpies are not related to true magpies (i.e. they are not Corvidae), and are more closely related to the Butcherbird.
They can be difficult to sex, especially the most common Sydney sub-species. The adult females are said to have a greyish tinge to the hindneck feathers, whereas the males’ hindnecks are a crisper white. We pretty immediately started calling Lefty “her”.
Lefty, while brave and comfortable around us, is no Penguin Bloom (the famous Magpie that so befriended a family that they made a movie about it). So far Lefty has not looked like letting us touch her, or sit on our heads, but she does approach quite closely, routinely eating cat-biscuits out of a bowl only a metre away from where I sit working. (More on her love of cat-food in another post).
A black-and-white bird this handsome looks just as handsome in black-and-white:
Here’s hoping Lefty hangs around for a lot longer…