Magpies, Kookaburras & Co.

It is due time for me to dedicate a post to Australian birds. Funny birds they are at times, I can tell you that much. It was sometime in August when I was riding my bike and turned around a corner when suddenly I realized that a flying bird almost hit my helmet. I was thinking that the bird might have not seen me when it was in full flight and I turned around the corner, but the bird came back and I realized it was attacking my helmet! I was rather startled, and when I asked my friend later that week, he explained to me that during nesting season magpie birds (the Australian “Elster”) attack people riding on pushbikes obviously to protect their nests and chicks. Later I saw people riding pushbikes and wearing helmets with spikey cable straps attached to their helmets in order to shy away these slightly aggressive birds.

Australian Magpie - by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos from under
Australian magpie - image by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos from,

Another real strange thing however happened when I was visiting a friend of mine at his house, and we repeatedly heard a thump as if something was pounding against a window. Believe it or not, it was a kookaburra who obviously saw its own reflection in the window and tried to attack an apparent opponent it in an attempt to protect the hen that was nesting in a tree nearby. The poor fellow flew against the window pane again and again, I mean, he really crashed against the window and probably only its strong beak protected him from major injuries, but he just wouldn’t learn and stop it! I observed him standing just behind the window inside the house when it flew against the pane, and sometimes he would do it several times within a minute. This bird was mental! The only good thing about it was that I was able to see this fantastic bird in full flight literally only centimetres away from my own eyes and head. Wildlife in Australia is just crazy!

Australian Kookaburra - image by Eric Hossinger from
Australian kookaburra - image by Eric Hossinger from

It is almost not worth mentioning that you see brush turkeys galore in gardens and parklands. They are peaceful creatures that would enter your house in search of food only if you left the door open. But then you might also be called on by snakes, lizards and other interesting animals, and this might result in yet another post…

Australian Brush Turkey - image by P. Pouliquin from
Australian brush turkey - image by P. Pouliquin from