Magpie upsets pecking order

Pie the pet magpie launches into song on the shoulder of her human, Jessica Jack. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Pie the pet magpie launches into song on the shoulder of her human, Jessica Jack. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Pie rules the roost in her Northeast Valley home.

The pet magpie, almost 1 year old, struts about the house, chasing the other inhabitants, dogs Willie and Simba, and generally creating a nuisance.

''She's in a mood today,'' Pie's human companion Jessica Jack says.

A magpie might seem an unusual pet, but Ms Jack, a PhD music student, said she was quite affectionate.

''She does like to give you kisses.''

Pie sat on her desk when she was trying to work, going so far as to help with the typing by using her beak to hit the keys.

She also had play-fights with Simba, then lay down with her for a nap.

Ms Jack said she was given the bird by her father, who owns a farm on Mt Cargill.

Pie was found very young when she was first trying to fly. Her parents, and their nest, could not be found.

Pie had taken quickly to the company of humans and dogs, though she was choosy about her human friends, and did not like everybody.

She slept inside in winter, fed herself outside, and tapped on the cat door when she wanted back in.

Pie was also starting to sing, being keen on warbling, and was able to mimic other animals, having worked out how to quack like neighbourhood ducks and meow like a cat.

She said ''thank you'' at mealtimes, which she had been taught, and liked to sit on Ms Jack's shoulder, though not just any shoulder.

''She prefers the left to the right.''

 

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