audible warning of swooping magpie

To: John Leonard <>,
Subject: audible warning of swooping magpie
From: John Gamblin <>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 16:56:41 -0700 (PDT)
G'day John and All,
Living with them as I do, yes mate sadly I say the word them, not just my black and white daughter, but to answer your question it's a case of over 8 times out of ten they do give out calls in pre-attack mode. BUT, I have noticed when it's food in the offing of the swoop then "no" not always is a "Yeeow Yeeow" call given out . It gives thought to me, that perhaps it's a, "clear the way fellow magpies I'm going in on attack call", to other magpies as a warning of fast diving swooping flight that is hard for them to deviate from? their hearing is exceptional to say the least. I've proven this over and over again.
Last night this was again proven to me when Mum and Dad magpie that live close to me, ( I have about five magpie families all told within a 1 km radius close to my home) they were out getting some tucker just before total darkness. Doing their mollycoddling of their young thing and the young one took off for some unknown at that time reason, mum and dad stayed for a while as we sang with each other, I love to mimic them and we have a ball singing together normally. Anyways, as I said the young one had taken off and NOT gone back to their home tree for the night. No panic from mum and dad as they took off later to round up the young one. BUT then it dawned on me how did they know where the young one was? Houses and trees and oodles of viisual blockages in the way. Mum and Dad took off in an unusual direction heading down to the marina complex? odd I thought? no sounds to me of the young one being heard to me from there? but then I saw the three of them going back from the marina area to their night tree? that says to me they have some kind of hearing that is above ours? perhaps? high pitched young magpies can scream in very high tones.
I'd love to know the answer to that one?
That's sad to hear about the info available where you are no wonder some uninformed don't know there true worth to Australia eh? I wonder what "Macca" on my sunday morning ABC radio thinks his cawling magpies are worth? as a by and by, you should hear "Eggy and her friends go off" when they hear his beaut radio show :^D>>> if that good lad, Macca, is worth his weight in gold, what are his magpies worth?
Why I love and adore Australia? if you listen closely folks you too can find out.
Ooroo Cobbers John A. Gamblin waddles off to be with pelaero and his pelican friends and family.

John Leonard <> wrote:
I have been swooped on my way to work for the last month or so (this is while cycling), and this prompts me to an observation.

Each time I have entered the territory of the swooping magpie I have heard the angry 'Yeow Yeow' call before it has attacked. This hasn't always helped me to predict which direction the bird was going to come from, but I have never been swooped without hearing that call in the preceding few seconds.

In the experience of birding-aus members, do magpies always give audible warning before swooping? If so, it might be a useful thing to include in public information about magpie attacks, as even a second's warning allows one to crouch lower, or, for a cyclist, to slow down?as it is those keyed in to the call are at a distinct advantage. Public information in the ACT, at any rate, is pretty hopeless; the standard notice refers to a "Swooping Bird", without even getting specific!

John Leonard

John Leonard (Dr)
PO Box 243, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia

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