More pictures from warmer times. Here is a little falcon (a merlin?) that for a couple of weeks last spring liked to perch on the utility pole in the back alley and look over the world. (Pictures taken from inside the house, 30m away. Click to enlarge.)
The falcon was never there more than a minute before a magpie came to annoy him. The magpie flew right up and tried to flap the falcon off his post.
The falcon chased the magpie away. The magpie hid in a tree, and the falcon returned to the pole.
And the magpie came at him again. The falcon gave chase and returned. The magpie’s attack-and-retreat routine would continue until the falcon became bored and went to sit somewhere else. After a couple weeks of this harassment, the falcon stopped coming to the pole. I saw him and a mate a block away, so maybe they found a place where they could live in peace.
When you have magpies, you don’t have many other birds. A robin is less a harbinger of spring than a harbinger of a ransacked robin’s nest.
When the birds turn on us as in Hitchcock, the magpies will turn first. You can tell they are waiting, despising us, picking up dried cat turds and dropping the hairy peanuts on our patio tables.