Monday, August 16, 2010

On Magpies and Mockingjays

One of my first memories in Australia is of waking to a very strange bird call. It sounded like a combination of R2D2 and a crow mumbling under its breath. What I was hearing was the Australian Magpie. (You can hear its call here.) They are big black and white birds, which look more like crows than American Magpies. One of the things Australian Magpies are known for is drawing blood. They are swooping birds. It's August, which is winter here, but soon it will be spring, which is magpie nesting season. The males become particularly territorial and will attack anything that moves. Bicyclists beware. People have come up with some pretty creative ways to ward off magpies. I frequently see bicyclists wearing helmets with cable ties sticking out all over. Also helmets with eyes on the back. Children walk home from school with ice cream buckets on their heads, with eyes drawn on the top. (It's very Australian!) I found this website particularly interesting. The video was surprising. Let's just say I won't be wearing a cable head any time soon.

Speaking of birds, you may be wondering why I am wearing this gold pin on my jumper (er, sweater). First of all, because my lovely sister gave it to me for my birthday. Thanks Beck. Also because Mockingjay is coming out in one week! I am so excited. I loved the first two books in the Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins) and have been eagerly waiting for the third. I haven't been this excited since Harry Potter #7. (I know, I'm such a nerd. Just for the record, I do read non-fiction too.) If you haven't read the Hunger Games yet, you still have time. Come on, you know you want to. Go ahead, neglect the laundry. Have Macca's (Mc Donald's) for dinner. Your preschooler can take care of herself, she has been dying to sit and watch Little Einstein all day for 2 days. It won't hurt her intellectual development. It's only TV (said with the same inflection as those anti-alcohol videos they showed us in high school where the guy tempts you, saying "It's only beer.") Who needs fresh air and exercise anyway? (Though I have to give this disclaimer: These books are violent. You'll want to discuss it with your 13 year-old if he reads it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than that.)

Sigh. I love to read.

Speaking of ballet, I took the kids (minus Shon and Caleb) to see "Swan Lake" over the weekend. The choreography was spectacular. The set was awesome. The music was Tchaikov-
sky (need I say more?) The people were beautiful. It was fabulous. I have decided that when I grow up I will be a ballerina (after I learn to fly an airplane that is.) Bryce even liked it, though he did say he would never dance ballet because "their pants are too tight." Agreed. And we went to our favorite gelato cafe afterwards. Gelato Milany. Yum. That's all I can say.


beck said...

You're totally welcome.

Anthony and Kristie said...

I listened to the bird call and you described it to a T, very impressive:)

Tamara Moses said...

HI Juli,

We moved from Halifax to Yarmouth 2 years ago, so we're not in the ward anymore. I enjoy reading about your experiences down under. What a culture shock it must have been. Keep the posts coming!

Liz said...

So have you read Mockingjay yet??? I loved it, not as much as the other two, but still. Also, enjoyed the videos you linked to, never knew there were birds that did this. Crazy!

Lindsey Ramage said...

Ok Ok I will do it! Taylor (the preschool) needs to take care of the baby and I am all set. Got Hunger Games but can't find the time to read it all in one sitting. But you have now convinced me to be neglect full! Done! I will let you know what I think!

mary grace said...

Yes those darn birds are blinkin' vicious! We had a nest in a tree right outside the estate entrance. Kiddies were coming to school bleeding from the face. Really don't agree with them living in the subs. Done ranting-
So glad the season is over now!