This afternoon I’d just started a post about a White-breasted Nuthatch that visited our feeder when I heard a cacophony at the other end of the house. The magpies were back! (Here are some photos I’d taken earlier.)
Anyway, I hurried to the window overlooking the patio and saw two magpies in the bird bath and a line of magpies on top of the fence, all making a ruckus. I grinned and called for Zippy to come see the fun. And then I noticed something else.
A magpie on its back. Unmoving on the patio.
Rather than having fun, they were mourning their flock member. Zippy and I were in anguish, debating how long to leave the bird there so they could have their “funeral,” when after another minute or so of their raucous cries, the downed magpie began moving its beak. They’d called it back to life!
As some flew down next to it, the magpie got up. My movement at the window startled the rest into flying into the neighbor’s pine tree. The injured bird moved into the shade of a big pot where it sat panting for about thirty minutes. I watched with binoculars through the window and took photos. In fact, I took a ton of photos over the next couple hours but because they were taken at an angle through a not-clean window , they’re not very good.
Here’s one of the earlier photos after it’d moved from the shade of a big pot to pant here in the vinca and sedum.
The bird slowly began moving west on the patio. First underneath the loveseat where it was joined by another magpie that appeared to hunt for insects and offer them to the dazed bird which rebuffed it. Then a long pause as the injured bird was out of sight behind the huge herb pot where I hoped it could drink from the bee bath. And then the magpie came back into view again.
It went through the wire (that’s supposed to keep Emma from destroying the flowers in the raised bed HAHAHA) and across to the timber in back.
And then it went out of sight again for a looong time. Zippy kept watch while I took a fast bathroom break and then I continued watching and waiting. I needed to know the bird was okay. Well, after a while I couldn’t take it anymore and very quietly stepped outside.
There I found a motionless magpie with its backend in my yard and the front end in the neighbor’s.
Distraught, I went back in the house. But I needed to know: what was going on? So out I went again.
This time, the head was up and the magpie was panting again. Probably because I’d stressed it out! I moved away and it went completely under the fence. A moment later, it hopped up and over a short wall.
That’s the last I saw of the magpie. I texted my neighbor to give her a heads-up and she put her dog inside then searched the yard. The only thing she found was a large, dead rat. (As she said: Ew.)
Here’s hoping those healthy, agile hops transitioned into healthy, flapping wings that carried the beautiful magpie back to the sky.