Don’t Mess with Magpies

A magpie flies over its rightful turf — the Alberton Oval, home of the SANFL Australian Rules Football Team, the Port Adelaide Magpies.

Magpies, it seems, are iconic and demonic at the same time. In the past, they have been viewed in Chinese culture as birds who bring good luck and joy. In many Western cultures, the magpie has had more sinister qualities and has even symbolized evil like its cousin the raven.

This good vs. evil framework works well in sports. Magpies are often mascots for athletic teams (e.g. the Australian Rules Football teams, Victoria’s Collingwood Magpies and the South Australia National Football League’s Port Adelaide Magpies just to name a few.) Scavengers and survivors, magpies are quite intelligent and definitely deserve a certain amount of respect.

However, they also have major attitude and can be very annoying. In some cases, they are even threatening. Take their swooping. Magpies, often when they are looking after their new hatchlings, will dive bomb any unwanted intruder who arrives on their turf. This  includes humans, especially kids.

My son, Eddie, was swooped a few times out on the oval (field) of his primary school in Adelaide, Australia. Eventually, he learned to walk to class with his backpack shielding his head. Ironically, his reception (kindergarten) class was divided up into welcoming and nurturing “magpie” groups. For example, he was a Yellow Magpie. This to me exemplifies the contradictory view we have of magpies.

When traveling to Kangaroo Island, we finally found a place, the Cape Willoughby Lightstation, that regarded a magpie as a legitimate force to be reckoned with. Basically, don’t mess with magpies. 

A sign outside the Cape Willoughby Lightstation on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
© Stephanie Glaser

Steph’s note: I’ve been a bit more sporadic with posting Oopses in August. I traveled with Kasey and Eddie to see my parents in Minnesota and did not have a regular internet connection, and more recently, the kids have started school. I’m hoping to get back to a more regular schedule soon. In the meantime, this is a much shorter post (some people may be thrilled with this prospect since I know I can go on at times….)

5 thoughts on “Don’t Mess with Magpies

    • Thank you so much, Lottie! That’s a massive compliment because I love your posts and enjoy your “voice” heaps. 🙂 Your praise has come at a great time because I was feeling a bit insecure as a blogger. Thank you again.

      • And your sweet comment has cheered me too because sometimes I feel just the same as you! I’ll send you an email later when I’ve woken up properly….it’s 6am and I need a few cups of coffee so I can get my act together!! xo 🙂

  1. It is almost magpie season here again, all cyclists are on the lookout and if you go walking the parks you need to be on the look out. I can remember being swooped by them all the time when I was riding my horse as a kid.

    • Leanne — I’m so happy that you can relate to the Australian posts. We have magpies in my hometown in Colorado, but they are rather mellow compared to Australian magpies. I can imagine that you must have been a prime target for them while on a horse. Thank you so much for your likes and feedback. It means a great deal!

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