Mating Behaviour in Magpies plus Sightings of Robins
I saw this strange behaviour between these two Magpies on the steps of a building where the female would shiver her wings and body, then the male who was sitting above her on a railing , would swoop down on her. This happened twice.The first picture shows the female shivering for the second time, vigorously flapping her wings close to her body.
The second picture shows the male swooping down to the female who is tilting her tail and hind end up in the air.
Then the pair flew to a nearby tree and both disappeared into this nest, entering from the side away from me.
At the end of the street where I live I observed one lone magpie near an obvious magpie nest.I thought maybe if I waited, it would go into the nest.
It went closer but did not attempt to enter the nest.
Instead, another one came out of it. The second one appears to be holding a stick in its mouth. The two of them flew off together.
I also saw three robins today, the first is a female in the woods.
The second was a male down the street from the woods, not necessarily the mate.
And the third was a male singing in a tree beside the magpie nest.
There is a nest in the same tree, but not a typical robin’s nest. Who knows?
There is a lot of activity in the neighbourhood,and plenty of opportunities to observe magpies, house finches, robins, crows, house sparrows, all of whom are nesting in the neighbourhood or nearby. Next month the warblers will arrive. I am looking forward to the upcoming season.
Nests Revealed-Ones to Watch
This is a good time of year to observe the nests in your neighbourhood, before the leaves grow and cover everything up. There are many kinds and it surprises me how close some are to the trails that we frequent or right out in the open in our own neighbourhoods. Some seem to be abandoned but others are being built up this year. Here are some samples.
Black-Billed Magpies Making Nests
Not too far from the path that runs beside the golf course i saw a lot of activity as magpies flew back and forth. They had sticks and were going deep into the valley and coming back uphill to one tree where a large nest was in process of being made. I read in a field guide that it can take 40 days to construct a nest, that both the male and female work together and the entrance is in the side of a dome. At one point they saw me watching and they disappeared for a while. I walked away so they could continue, and they did. A day later i watched them from the top of the hill where it was a good view and far enough away that they were not disturbed.
Here is the first day looking up at the nest.
Here is the vantage point from the top of the hill. The partner is on the backside or has flown off to get more twigs and the one in the photo is going into the side entrance. The last photo shows the hole .
Shot in aperture priority with a 300 mm lens at 1/200 sec to 1/800 sec f/6.3, 400 ISO
A Crow Gathering Twigs
This beautiful specimen has arrived in the city and is busy flying to a dead tree or seemingly so, to find some twigs for the nest.
Oh, oh! Careful.
Aw, too bad. He/she dropped it! It started over and success!
At 1/500 sec shutter the take-off was a blur but it flew deep into the valley and came back a couple of times in an hour. It is not an easy job, it takes co-ordination of the turns and twists and careful footing.It was an impressive undertaking.The crows seem to gather in one area below some apartment buildings in tall trees.Maybe they nest in the dense trees in the bottom of the valley.