Bird wars

Whilst running this morning I heard a squawking bird. Nothing unusual in Australia, for sure, but this bird was really making some noise.

I stopped and looked up. There, balanced on a telephone wire, was an Australian Magpie. Again, nothing unusual: these are all over the country, including the city, and they’re always squawking about something.

Australian Magpie. Click to enlarge. Photo from Lip Kee via Creative Commons license

This one, though, was trying to chase off the large bird sitting on another wire nearby. At first I couldn’t tell what sort of bird it was at all. Then my Oz filters kicked in and I realised it was a Frogmouth: a Tawny Frogmouth, I think, and probably a young one by the size and tuftiness of its feathers.

Tawny Frogmouth. Click to enlarge. Photo from Arthur Chapman via Creative Commons license

I thought they were actually owls; they’re not, though they look similar and are related. One of their distinguishing features – as you can tell from their name – are their very large mouths. And this one was using his to ward off the bothersome magpie. Once in a while the latter bird would make a little flap towards the former, and the frogmouth would snap its beak with an impressively loud clack.

That magpie soon flapped away, though another came to take its place on a nearby wire and continue the harassment of the frogmouth. The night bird seemed capable of keeping them at bay, though. I watched this squawk-and-feint for a while, and then ran on.

It feels really interesting – good interesting – to come across brand new animals all the time here. I feel like a kid again, learning all about nature.


1 Response to “Bird wars”

  1. 1 Gabrielle
    December 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    You haven’t lived in Australia unti you’ve been dive bombed by a magpie in mating/nesting season.

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