A bird-loving woman has struck up a remarkable friendship with dozens of magpies, including one who sits on her shoulder waiting for a kiss.
Danielle, 39, greets the birds as they arrive in her Geelong garden each morning and says they all have their own personalities.
The wildlife carer has created a social media community called the Magpie Whisperer which is dedicated to the birds.
The Magpie Whisperer says the ‘lovable and quirky’ birds are just seriously misunderstood
Meet Danielle a full-time licensed volunteer wildlife carer who spends her days looking after the birds
Danielle said Spring is very busy due to nesting season and the shelter she works at is receiving a lot of babies who are to young to fly.
‘These birds have either been abandoned or rejected by their parents, fallen from their nests and succumb to injuries which then require rehabilitation or sadly they’ve been “bird napped” in their fledgling stage by people with good intentions!’ she explained.
Danielle acts as a temporary foster mum until the birds can be returned to the wild.
‘Along with the responsibility, there can be much heartache, but the positives of being able to see something you care for being returned to the wild makes it all worthwhile,’ she said.
The wildlife carer said Spring is very busy for the shelter she works at as birds learning to fly are dropped off with injuries (pictured: baby magpie)
She wrote a poem called ‘Nesting Season’ from a father magpies point of view to explain the bird’s nest defence is not sinister or malicious
She wrote a poem called ‘Nesting Season’ from a father magpies point of view on her Facebook page to try and explain the bird’s nest defence is not sinister or malicious:
‘I love my kids with all my heart. I’m only protective to ensure their lives have a fair dinkum start!
‘Being a Magpie parent isn’t as easy as you may think. In just an instant our babies lives could be taken in a blink!
‘I ask for your compassion for only 4-6 weeks per year. The rest of the time, there is no reason to fear!’
The bird-lover started interacting with magpies in 2011 when one, who she called Pigpie because of his insatiable appetite, started hopping up onto her arms and legs as she sat outside.
Her love for the little black birds grew – and at one point she had more than 20 wild magpies regularly visiting her garden, many of which have grown up and found their own territory.
Danielle calls her Geelong home ‘Magpie Manor’ and now has around 7 adult birds regularly visiting
Pictured: The magpies greet the wildlife carer as she arrives home and then follow her to the backyard to play
Danielle calls her Geelong home ‘Magpie Manor’ and now has around 7 adult birds regularly visiting.
She has a playground for when they visit which features colourful windmills, plastic balls, small stuffed toys and plenty of sticks and leaves.
‘They invent fun little games on the spot. They’ll make happy little squealing noises as they run around placing chasey. It’s surprising how much their play games can often resemble that to a human child’s play!’ she said.
During Summer she creates a water park with multiple bird baths and brings out the hose for them to play in.
‘Whilst having multiple bird baths of all shapes and sizes placed around my backyard, they all want to bathe in what’s currently being occupied, or is the smallest bath… go figure!’
Danielle said Spring is very busy for the shelter she works at as nestlings, birds to young to leave their nest, are dropped off for care
The Magpie Whisperer says the birds have helped her deal with her severe anxiety
‘I get to observe their quirky behaviour and odd traits. That is how I come up with names for most of them.
‘Each new arrival has a distinct personality just like we do. There’s always the clown, bully, loner, comedian, show off, angel, grump bum, cutie, instigator, thief, sticky beak and so on.’
Danielle says the birds have helped her deal with her severe anxiety, which had led her to spend most of her time indoors.
Now she is often found outside, stroking the birds, feeding them, playfully splashing them with water and even kissing them.
While she is glad to have the magpies’ company, the Whisperer is keen to point out that the birds are free to leave and she in no way forces them to come to her garden.
While she is glad to have the magpies’ company, the Whisperer is keen to point out that the birds are free to leave and she in no way forces them to come to her garden