Mother Nature poses many challenges in the suburbs, and how we respond is often a measure of character.
If the lawn grows, for example, we mow it; if the rain falls, we unblock the gutters.
But what if a magpie begins a daily ritual of perching above our clothes line and doing a dump. Not this side of the clothesline, or that. Right above. What then bird lovers?
Are we justified in harassing them and suggesting they fly off to where they came from, like Patriot Blue members did to politician Sam Dastyari last week? The magpie belongs in my backyard just as much as me and Sam and possibly not so much Patriot Blue. If we all can’t all get along, do we all truly belong on Planet Dickhead?
This is not intended to be a PC commentary on vile social media stunts, but there could be parallels. It’s about stopping a bird defecating on a sensitive area of my turf. Namely, the fence above the clothesline, which is far from edifying when the clothes are out, and not that nice even when they’re not.
The accumulating Jackson Pollack on the colorbond is raising questions about what’s uglier, the colorbond or the Pollack.
We all know it’s a jungle out there, but tradition suggests that when it comes to your nest, you don’t poo in it, or on it. The magpie should know that. Not that I’m saying the magpie is racist. It’s more learned behaviour.
We think the magpie is relieving itself of ballast each morning so it can feast on the neighbour’s dog food.
It swoops in ever so skilfully, pulling up petitely on what surely must be a slippery slope of rolled steel, before aiming its arse our way and letting go a gleaming white deposit of good morning sunshine before hopping down for the daily refill.
Makes perfect sense if you’re a bird maybe, not so much if you’ve got the Reg Grundys out.
The dexterity in flight is matched only by the arousal of fight in our house as we watch on. The screeching right up there with the cockatoos – “Bloody magpie’s doing it again!”
The upshot has been species war on a level not seen since the rat at the compost bin. Forget motion cameras at night, this magpie is operating in broad daylight, right in our faces. And if we were hanging out the clothes, it might well be right in our faces. Or white, to be precise.
A trip to the local hardware store revealed bird deterrents shaped like porcupine pins which can be strapped to the top of your fence – medieval style.
Devilish in design, they can take out an eye, if you’re lucky. Not that I wish the magpie any harm. But I nearly stuck myself trying to deploy them the other day.
Next morning, in a classic scene of Australiana, the magpie swooped in, took up position right between the armaments, and let go a familiar fusillade.
The bird was unperturbed, which felt absurd, in the suburb. But it’s been character building, I’ll give you the word.