John Donne’s famous line, is quoted in Australian Magpie by Gisela Kaplan.
It’s in a chapter about,”Social Rules and Daily Life”
I shared a link on Flickr to a post regarding Magpie behaviour. Here it is.
Magpies and Tracking Devices,
Seems our erstwhile scientists in need of a research project for the old PhD decided that Australian Magpies needed some help to deal with climate change. Had they taken a few moments to read a few pages from Gisela’s book —subtitled, “Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird”, they might have saved themselves a wasted theory.
Gisela tells many interesting stories of personal interactions with Maggies and each one helps gain a little understanding of the ‘smarts’ these bird inherently possess.
Perhaps one of the more interesting lines of thought is in the opening story of the First Nations Legend of the Magpie. I’ve shared the story before, so briefly, Once in the Dreamtime the sky was very close to the earth and everything was dark and gloomy. The Magpies got together and with small sticks propped up the sky until some light got through. Encouraged by their success, they worked together to get larger sticks and open it up more… and so on, until the Sun-mother was able to shine through on the first real Sunrise. Excited by their success the Magpies still sing in the sunrise each day to celebrate, I guess, both the warmth, and their cleverness.
So attaching ‘radio’ trackers to a Maggie seemed to me to be doomed for failure, from the getgo.
Here are a couple of links to the Morning story
Peter Hancock Sydney Morning Herald
Uncle Dave Tournier with the Northern Victorian version
For a lighthearted look at the failed science attempt you can’t go past
First Dog On the Moon: Magpies: Courageous heros or little feathery b…..ds
In the final chapter, Gisela, says, ” There is no doubt that the Australian magpie is a very successful bird at many levels. … The magpie’s impressive range of social activities, its willingness to interact with people, and its propensity to invent even leisure-time activities have made the magpie almost accessible company.”
…”They have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to different climate zones. (Across the Country).
And just to show that the First Nations stories were more than just fairy-tales, but rather used as teaching tools at a number of levels here is one that shows how Magpies and Currawongs worked to make it rain on the parched earth.
And how a Magpie’s Special Song brings rains.
The Earth sang a song of happiness as the rain fell, and the Peoples of the Raven danced in the falling rain.
Magpies love to Sunhaze.
To stretch out in the warm sunshine and allow the rich warmth to penetrate their bodies. Passersby may think that the bird is ill, but rather, it seems to be in a trance. I am sure they always do it when there is a partner or family member that can warn of any danger.
A small transmitter didn’t stand a chance. 🙂