Monday 1 June 2015

The One About Forrest

In which I find a new way to procrastinate - watching the antics of the birds in my garden ...

I've always liked magpies, even though they have such a terrible reputation. According to folklore they are bad luck, associated with witchcraft - and they steal things. If you see one at a window, it's supposed to mean imminent death. Oh, and they're notorious for snacking on other birds' young.

Last week a baby magpie turned up in my garden. He was a little too big to be a 'baby', although his feathers were still fluffy. His parents had apparently left him to practise flying and fend for himself and, like any teenager, he spent the day sulking that he was expected to do EVERYTHING ... 

Sulking ...

He half-heartedly poked at the grass for bugs but drank the water from the drain with enthusiasm. Whenever anyone went into the garden he'd hop off at impressive speed, leading to him being nicknamed Forrest (as in "Run, Forrest, run": Forrest Gump).

On the second day he discovered he could duck beneath the garden gate onto our front driveway, where he amused himself by jumping onto the window ledge and frightening me half to death by crashing his beak against the glass. From here he could hop onto the bonnet of my car, where he spent the morning sliding up and down the windscreen, before realising he could get a better grip walking up the plastic at the side. Magpies are apparently known for their intelligence ...

King of the Car

After performing his favourite 'falling-with-style' onto my neighbour's car, I thought at least it might keep him out of the way of the local cats - only to look again and see both he and my neighbour's car had gone.

I fully expected to find a ball of feathers squashed on the driveway but no, Forrest was happily sitting in a flower bed, shredding and eating the flowers. He spent the rest of the afternoon blithely sunning himself in the centre of the road, while I worried about cats and cars - and his real mother scolded him from the roof.

The third day saw Forrest unceremoniously dumped back in our garden, along with his big brother to bird-sit. Here they are, affectionately pecking each other ...

Forrest (left) and his brother

It's easy to tell the difference - Forrest is smaller, fluffier and more bedraggled. But having his cooler older brother around finally encouraged him to stop wandering the neighbourhood as cat bait and, apart from the occasional collision with the fence/window/wheelie bin, Forrest was soon flying from one end of the garden to the other. Now he and his brother perch outside my study like a couple of little thugs, chattering loudly and alternating between cuddling up and pecking each other.

Magpies are territorial, so this little family aren't going anywhere. We're regularly woken by the machine gun 'clack' of their 'birdsong' and, although their parents still occasionally feed them, they've already started eyeing up the neighbouring sparrow nests as a potential all-you-can-eat buffet.

They grow up so fast ...


  1. Such a fun post, I love it! I had no idea magpies had such a bad reputation, so I learned something as well. Watching birds is such a great way to procrastinate...

    1. Thank you, Suze! Yes, they're like the rats of the bird world! I don't think anyone likes them except for me! These two are so cute though x

  2. Sadly, magpies are responsible for raiding dove's nests fun and clever thigh they are, I chase them off. Great post!

    1. Thank you! They don't appear to be doing much murdering and pillaging at the moment but I expect it's only a matter of time :-(