Just to let you know about recent happenings with Maggie and Co, it's that time of year when the birds arrange their territories for the next twelve months. Not much action with our birds this year though (not yet, anyway). I got a clue that the Mags gang and Larry (grey butcherbird) gang have settled their quarrel. Last week, when I went up to the gate to call Larry, he and Maggie flew in side-by-side, then Maggie landed and Larry went to his nearby tree. But it was a definite signal to me that they are on amicable terms again. I have heard Larry call from further anf futher up the road, so he has got an expanded territory. Why that means he can't come down into our yard though, I do not yet get.
I think "our" Currawongs have returned (not completely sure yet though). Currawongs are migratory, but unlike the long-range migratory birds you see on nature shows, they don't all go together to the same place. At any time of the year there are currawongs, but they are not 'our' curries, meaning the ones that know us and come to our back yard for a snack. Instead, the currawongs seem to just all move around anyhow, but the birds return at the same time each year. Maybe the entire species just moves north and south a bit, with the southernmost birds never getting as far north as the northermost ones get south? The curries who have just appeared are stopping in our mulberry tree (rapidly losing its leaves as winter approaches) and timidly coming down for a bite. I think they aren't scared of me, but they are scared, because our much smaller pied butcherbirds snap at them each time and send them packing! Yes, the small butcherbirds tyrannise the big currawongs. Can't remember if I've told you this, but a year or so ago, Curry was standing on the wire of our clothes line. Dimpy butcherbird, wanting to get rid of Curry, landed on the adjacent wire, flipped upside down, hanging from his toes. Then he started swinging like a child on a swing, further and further until he was able to nip Curry's foot on each upswing. Swing, nip, swing, nip. Poor Curry was scandalised and so embarrassed, the human watching and all, and he flew away for the rest of the day.
Two days ago I learned something about voice projection. I went up to the front fence to call Larry, and he answered: an incredibly loud, booming, raucous song coming from directly above me in the tree canopy. I looked up, called, studied the branches, but however hard I looked, I just couldn't see him. And he called louder and louder, more and more gutsy and booming, way louder than I've heard him before. But still I couldn't find him! Then I looked down, into the miniature tree right next to me, and there he was, right beside me, not three feet away, and not scared of the big human one bit! He was expanded to three times his normal size (quite literally!) one huge ball of air, his beak pointed straight up, and he was forcing that air out as he sang with every muscle he possessed. The noise was going straight up, hitting the overhead foliage, and bouncing straight back down again. Quite an education!