birding-aus MAGPIE MIMICRY

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: birding-aus MAGPIE MIMICRY
From: "Andrew Thelander" <>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 17:20:34 +0000

Back in January, Richard Loyn and others were discussing mimicry in magpies.
 In an old "empire days" book called "Birds I Have Known," the author Arthur
H. Beavan says he had a pet Australian magpie that could sing the song
"Merrily danced the Quaker's wife, and merrily danced the Quaker."  The
bird's singing was "splendid" for all but the final note.  Indeed, the
author says that magpies "invariably fail to learn the last note, for which
they substitute their own enchanting whistle."
The book was published in London by T. Fisher Unwin, but I can't date it. 
Apologies to all the Quakers out there!
Andrew Thelander
PO Box 302
Pomona QLD 4568

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