The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63739   Message #1039361
Posted By: Bob Bolton
21-Oct-03 - 10:41 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs
Subject: RE: Origins: Crow Scaring Songs

I think I had sort of skimmed past your "Magpie Games" item on Valda's (Roo's) Simply Australia web site ... I should not have - it is hilarious.

I did see Greg (O) at Forbes, back over the October Labour Day Weekend ... I'll have to ask him for his magpie calls next time I see him!

I tried searching for Denis Glover's poem The Magpies ... but the only hit that seemed to actually have the words was not talking to me. Perhaps someone else can find (incidentally, it seemed to have more links in Australian sites than his native New Zealand!).

I can't say I've ever heard the NZers claim the Magpie ... they pinch anything else that's not chained down - selling our Waratahs as "Kiwi Roses" goes a bit beyond mere chutzpah!

(And they were the silly beggars that imported our Brushtailed Possums ... to found a fur trade industry ... and are looking likely to wipe out their entire national forests as a result.)

BTW: I'm fairly certain that I've heard Glover's words set as a song - but it was a while back ... and I don't have anything more than a passing memory of the lines you quote - especially that glorious phoneticisation of the magpie's call. If anyone has a workable link to the Glover word - and any song version - I would also appreciate it.

Oh yes - if, by "fighting back", you mean the aggressive protection that magpies give their nest and/or territory that is well known. There are some places where, in nesting season, the popular headgear runs to plastic ice-cream containers worn as safety helmets - often with big glaring eyes texta-coloured onto the back to try and scare off the aerial bombardment.

These more-correct days I can't recommend my approach, back when I was living at Khankoban while working on Murray 2 dam, in the Snowy Mts Hydro Scheme: When I wandered out of quarters on Sundays off, I carried a .22" starting pistol in my pocket - and kept the corner of my eye on the resident aerial raider. Just as it neared the back of my head, I would swing up the pistol and discharge a blank or two in the vicinity of the bombarding magpie ... I can't honestly say that it had much of the desired effect of discouraging the blighters ... but it was fun ... at the time (~ 36 years ago).