This is a story that goes back to 1998 when we moved to Australia and bought a house in Queensland. A magpie would visit each morning and we called him Andy. After a while he brought along his partner and we called her Ladybird. Andy was a very gentle bird he would wait till Ladybird had her feed from Jack’s hand then carefully take what Jack offered him.
On rainy days they would shelter on the deck and serenade us with the most beautiful, vibrant song and then make soft warbling sounds in the back of their throat. It is the sound of the Aussie bush, we loved it.
As time went by they had babies and would bring them along to introduce them to us. Most years they had two or three but in 2007 they had 5 babies, (count them in the top photo).
The next year Andy disappeared. We were very sad.
Ladybird continued to come on her own for a while, then one day she brought along a new partner. A large, brash, younger looking bird that we called Toyboy. He was the opposite to gentle Andy, pushing Ladybird out-of-the-way and helping himself to most of the food. When their babies came along they inherited their father’s temperament, being quarrelsome and picking on each other.
After a few months they all stopped visiting us and we never saw them again and shortly after we set off on our round Australia trip.
Whenever I hear the song of the magpie it reminds me of the time we had a beautiful wild bird as our friend.