A pair of crafty Mount View magpies have built an eye-catching nest that may fly in the face of research about the bird’s supposed light-fingered habits and disinterest in the colour blue.
Eleanor Lennard spotted the bright-blue infused nest on her property over the weekend and stopped to snap a picture.
‘‘A pair of magpies nest in the tree every year,’’ she said.
‘‘I went past there yesterday while yarding cattle and I thought I would see if I could see their nest.
‘‘Well, what a surprise I got.
‘‘They decided to steal some bailing twine from our hay sheds to decorate it.
‘‘I haven’t seen anything like it before.’’
It seems more like the behaviour of the satin bowerbird than the common magpie.
But for centuries, magpies have had a reputation for being attracted to shiny things and compulsively stealing and hoarding small objects like jewellery.
That was until a 2014 UK study apparently debunked that school of thought as myth.
The research found that magpies do not steal trinkets and are positively scared of shiny objects.
The study, from the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, involved using a pile of shiny items and a pile of the same items covered in blue paint.
Researchers then placed mounds of nuts just 30 centimetres away from each of the objects and found that magpies only picked up a shiny object twice, discarding it immediately.
The birds essentially ignored or avoided both shiny and blue objects and often fed less when they were present.
So what are Ms Lennard’s magpies up to?