Nest Swapping Between Magpies and Crows

Vicky magpie feeding chick in nestIn this picture Vicky magpie has just landed on the branch with some food for the young chicks in her nest. 

The start of winter, i.e. June is the mating season for magpies.  By July the early breeders will have laid their eggs which usually hatch 4 weeks later.  The young hatchlings  spend a month in the nest developing and growing before they fledge.

Vicky is a late breeder. She doesn't lay her eggs until September and it is well into October before we see her fledgelings.

Magpies tend to keep the same nest over the years unless it is destroyed in a storm or other extreme circumstances.  But Vicky  has changed her nest quite often. 

The most remarkable time was when a few years ago she swapped nests with a crow.  The crows nests are bigger and stronger and she immediately got to work to line and soften the inside.  The crow on the other hand lost no time in reinforcing Vicky's old nest and making it more

robust.crow's nest

What is even more amazing is that Vicky and Maggie had told us the year before that they had made a deal with the crow.  We didn't understand their message at the time and thought they were acting weird - after all they were birds!  But we learned otherwise. They were telling us exactly what they had planned.  The crow became one of their favoured friends and they would come down specially to ask us to feed her.  The swap enabled Vicky's nest to be in line with our telescope and we could see her chicks from the dinette.

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Until tomorrow,



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