For the past 10 days or so when I've gone to the letter box, or to potter in the garden or bring the garbage bin up from the road, the Butcher Bird would appear quite quickly in a nearby branch and sit kinda peering down at me. I thought it was 'asking' for a tidbit of bread as I'd seen it sometimes in the back yard when the Rainbow Lorikeets have been flying in for theirs. It seemed quite shy then and would only fly down to retrieve some bread if I threw it quite close to where it was sitting, and then only after what appeared to be quite long 'inspection' of the morsel. I got a scare recently when coming back from the letterbox to hear a loud 'clack' beside me and realised the bird had flown very close to me and continued up into a tree. It un-nerved me for a second or two until I realised it was Mr or Mrs Butcher Bird. Oh well, it must want bread real bad to do that was my thought.
After having this busy bird 'swoop' at me three times now I've realised (slow learner here I think)! that the poor thing is protecting a nest. There are several of these birds in our area, one of them found dead on the ground recently with an 'attacked head' - the work we suspect of a flock of dreadful Indian Myna birds who terrorise the bird colony around our home. This seems to be their modus operandi when wanting to rid other birds of what they consider their territory. I've actually seen one of these scavengers attack a Rainbow Lorikeet in this manner. Dreadful to watch!
Anyway to get back to the Butcher Bird household. Since it dawned on me that the bird is actually trying to frighten me away from its nest, I'm really rather apprehensive about going outside the front door! I know it sounds foolish - I'm sure the bird wouldn't actually touch me - but I simply don't like the thought of being 'dive bombed'. It's not being aware that it's going to happen that freaks me. I'm sure if my neighbours have seen me in the past few days surrepticiously edging my way down the path they would certainly wonder what had come over me. Since the majority of them go out to work during the day, I don't think they've had to wonder.
These birds belong to the magpie family and from what I've read, they usually don't swoop from the front - I'm sure that's correct since this fellow certainly came each time from behind me. I'm thinking maybe I should buy one of those kids plastic yellow hard hats and glue a pair of eyes on the back. They say a plastic ice cream container works OK as well. Fortunately this kind of behaviour only happens between September and November - until the chicks have fled the nest.
Baby Butcher Bird taken 2007
Even though I've found it scary, I still have to marvel at the way God's little creatures take care of their young. Fancy something so small taking on something of human being size! Not a day goes by that God doesn't teach me more about the person He is! I am grateful and blessed!