Welcome to the first Brudine Veterinary Hospital Blog! We hope you enjoy this forum and find it a useful source of information on all things animal.
Each fortnight we intend to bring you a bite sized snippet on a different topic. We hope that by reviewing pet related issues we will inform our Brudine family and keep you all up to date on a range of topics. Our veterinarians treat all manner of pets from dogs and cats to birds, small mammals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice and reptiles too! With our wide range of interests we are confident everyone will find something to interest them here!
So lets kick of with a spring topic: Swooping Magpies!
For most of the year magpies live happily in our cities. They sing lovely songs, hop around looking handsome and cause little trouble. But come Spring the can transform into aggressive black and white demons, swooping innocent cyclists and walkers that dare to enter their territory.
In truth these birds are just being good mums and dads and are protecting their chicks. And while we can all agree it's great that magpies adhere to a high standard of parenting it can be downright unpleasant to be swooped! All of a sudden there is a rush of feather and a sharp click of wings and if you are unlucky a beak or claw can flash out and cause injury. Magpies will continue with this behaviour from as early as July through to the end of their breeding season, around November.
The Canberra times has a useful list of suggestions to minimize harm if you need to pass through a protective magpie's territory. Tips include maintaining eye contact, using protective helmets or umbrellas or just finding an alternate route for a few weeks. You can feel a true Canberran if you've ever walked backwards, holding an intense and unflinching gaze with a small black and white bird while brandishing an umbrella in the middle of summer!
As the chicks grow and fledge remember that magpie babies leave their nest before they can fly competently. They spend about a week fluttering around, building up their flying strength and skill. Mum and dad magpie are around and are providing protection and support for them while they learn. This means that if you see a baby magpie on the ground, don't assume its injured and in need of rescue. Well meaning members of the public catching these birds and bringing them to a vet or RSPCA are actually kidnapping a birds in no need of help! Keep an eye out for the parents and once you've spotted them you know that little chick is just fine. Wires has some further excellent recommendations on what to do if you do find a truly injured bird in need of help.
Give them time and our black and white neighbours will settle down and go back to being the innocent and beautiful birds we enjoy for the other two thirds of the year! Do you have a crazy swooping story you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you.
Image: The Canberra Times, https://www.fairfaxstatic.com.au/content/dam/images/1/1/3/g/x/g/image.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.gji5i8.png/1444958478594.jpg