We tend to take birds for granted. But there’s a funny side to a lot of different birds if only we take the time to appreciate them. We’ve all heard about the crazy antics of a pet Cockatoo or Galah but birds in the wild have their own personalities also and can be quite entertaining, particularly in relation to their interaction with cats and dogs.

One of the funniest episodes I can remember involved our persian cat “Crombie” who wasn’t actually the smartest of cats. I heard a lot of bird squarking coming from the back yard and looked out to see a trio of Pee Wees (Magpie Larks) harassing poor Crombie, who was backing back defensively and the next thing he was in the swimming pool and paddling madly for the steps, still being pursued by the birds. He shot out of the pool and into the kids’ tent and stayed there until he felt it was safe to come out. The Pee Wees had had their fun and didn’t hang around.

At a previous house we had a plastic cone-shaped rain gauge attached to the deck railing and one day there were twelve white Cockatoos cavorting on the railing, quite a sight to see. When they eventually flew off I noticed that one of them had something in his beak, which turned out to be our rain gauge. Goodness knows what he did with it but we never found it. I can’t imagine what use he could have made of it when he got it home.

Peacocks can be funny birds too. A friend has a hobby farm and has a number of Peacocks which roam around at will. Our little woolly dog “Rupert” loves to chase his little coloured ball and is totally single-minded when racing after it. On this occasion I deliberately threw it over the top of one of the Peacocks and Rupert took off after it like a rocket. He was heading straight for the Peacock and his body language said “Get out of my way!” The peacock obviously got the message and went straight up into the air like a helicopter, allowing Rupert to pass safely underneath. The peacock landed completely unfazed and nonchalantly went on with its business.

Magpies build a large nest like a basket of twigs. A friend tells of watching a pair of them busily going about the job of constructing one, each bird arriving in turn with another twig and poking it into place. One of the twigs was obviously a bit oversize and the Magpie couldn’t get it to go into position no matter how hard he tried. After several attempts he simply threw it away in disgust and went off to find another one.

So, when you see a couple of birds in your yard, it’s often worth taking a few minutes to see what they might be up to. You never know what entertainment you might miss if you don’t.

Noel Williams is interested in everything to do with gardening, outdoor living and wildlife and is passionate about birds.

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