Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Magpie courtship display

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.

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