It was just inside the walkway gate that I first noticed her. Sitting way up high, among the branches of an old man pine tree, making it difficult to capture a decent pic with the lens I had. Each forest walk over the next week or so, she always seemed to be there or nearby so I figured this must be her home tree turf.
It wasn’t until we were leaving one day, and were surprised to see a very fluffy little magpie chick sitting on the rope fence near the gate, that I put two and two together. The pine tree magpie must be mum to this little, peeping his heart out, baby. His cheeping, sounding uncannily like a real baby crying.
Retreating with the little dog to sit in the car and observe, sure enough, it wasn’t long before, mother Maggie appeared in answer to her squalling baby’s cries for food. I watched as she flew back and forth, tugging out worms over on the riverbank, then returning to stuff them down his raucous throat.
In between worms, baby Maggie used his time alternately, egging her on for more food and doing flapping practice, trying out what his wings could do, eventually he managed to get a flight going over to the lowest of the branches on their pine tree.
New Zealand’s short few days of spring weather, suddenly plunged right back into the deepest of winter extremes. Torrential rains, wind and cold causing problems all over the country that were making it impossible to get out for walkies.
Housebound, I worried how the mother and baby Maggies were coping. As soon as I could get out, I went cruising the road beside the river bank in search of the Magpie family. I took a pic of this cute little boat going to head off on a jaunt up the river, but no sign of my bird family.
Further on, searching with my heart in my mouth, hoping they had survived, a little blur of black and white, huddled, back into the gale force winds, was tucked up and under a large Flax bush, far from their home tree patch.
Getting as close as I could to check on him, his voice was certainly okay, sending out loud and clear, food wanted now squawks.
From our car hidey-hole, I watched the mother return with food and join her chick under the bush. First giving him a smack on the beak to get him to open up, then, stuffing it down his throat.
Talking with a friend, I met on the forest track later, she informed me Maggie mother originally had two babies, however, one got sick and was dying during the storm. She had taken it home to help, but it was too far gone.
Baby Maggie turned into my daily reality show, a highlight of Doggie walks over the next few weeks. Was he still there? had he survived another night? was he thriving and had he managed to avoid the many, some vicious, dogs that ran free every day?
Sometimes, I shouted them a free lunch, taking moistened catnuts and bread to throw out for a treat. The baby always followed mother’s lead, hanging back and not checking it out until the little dog and I had retreated enough, then they would tuck in.
One visit, baby was nowhere to be seen and mother was foraging alone. A frantic search ensued, until, with much relief, he was flushed out from the flax bushes. But bad news, he was trying get along, doing a ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ on one leg, the other was unable to take any weight.
Watching his struggles knowing there was nothing I could do for a wild bird was upsetting, however, prayers were sent upstairs for his recovery and protection for them both.
Every time a hungry hawk flew overhead, baby Maggie’s head rotated with his eyes tracking, as he cowered lower down in the grass.
The next time I saw them, after a few days away, they were back at their home tree patch. Baby was sitting on a gate snoozing, using the sore leg for balance, but when he hopped down, was walking on it very gingerly. He was much bigger, but not feeding himself yet, as he kept opening his eyes to yell for mum to hurry up.
Faithful, mother Maggie, soon showed up with dinner on the wing again, lol, which hardly touched the sides before he was complaining again.
Baby has now grown to feed himself and forages with mother along the riverbank.
Flies to the tops of the highest pine tree branches following mother whenever she perceives danger, and the sore leg is operating again.
Mother also recognizes myself, and not put off by the little doggie, calls out greetings or flies down to show herself whenever we are in the walkies forest.
Well done, good and faithful mother.
Do you hear those words, ‘well done good and faithful’ they are bible words, sent to us from our heavenly father above. If you need someone to nurture you and show you the way in life, look up to him and read his words, his love will never let us down. God Bless Coral.