|Preparing the stolen feather|
|Nearly happy with it|
|Courtship display with the feather in his beak|
I saw something quite extraordinary today in the garden. Unfortunately the photos are not very easy to discern as he was quite a way down the garden from me and I had to shoot quickly on zoom.
Our two regular pigeons were visiting. One was on the bird table and the other on the ground. Suddenly a magpie swooped down from a tree and pulled a feather from the plumage of the pigeon on the ground – quite a large feather. He—for I'm sure it was a male—then returned to the tree and plucked bits off the feather for a while. Once happy with it, he started performing a little dance with the feather in his beak like a trophy. It was only at this point that I noticed that there was another magpie in the tree, below him – presumably the female.
I know nothing about the courtship rituals of magpies and have never seen anything like this before.
I wonder whether he succeeded in his wooing.