No blackbirds - or black and white birds in any pies here, thankfully!
Yesterday, I heard one of the three magpie youngsters trying out their voice and honing their skills.
I crept up to the back window and hoped they wouldn't notice me while I tried to video them. Luckily, no. Singing merrily and being slightly distracted by the odd bug, this willing warbler continued to merrily practice.
And, even though it will be a while before their song is as well developed and melodious as their parents, it is sweet nonetheless.
At this age, it is difficult to tell the gender of magpies, so I can't yet refer to them as she or he. In adult females, the 'hood' on the back of the neck tends to be more mottled/greyish-white than the very white of the males.
The adult Australian magpie has one of the most complex and beautiful songs. Not only do they serve to defend territories, the calls maintain social structure and group (family) recognition. They can identify and locate each other throughout the neighbourhood.
Often, when I watch a youngster sing, I'll hear its parent call out in the distance. They will stop, listen, reply and before long, mum or dad appears.
The youngsters will continue to develop and add to "their" song until they leave their parents' (or natal) territory around seven months later.
To hear magpies carolling in the early dawn is heartwarming and a lovely way to start the day.
And so, here is our little Aussie warbler...