Pedalling his bike up the hill of Duncan Street, the puffing rider was unaware that he had entered a magpie territory during breeding time, and was in fact within a bull’s roar from a nest, built in the outer branches of a lemon-scented gum tree, some 20 metres above the front yard of number 43.

Perched on a power line across the road from the tree, Magtor, Chieftain of Magpie Territory 38 East, was on nest watching duty. He had kept the rider firmly locked in his sights, as the wheeled humans moved far too quickly for his liking; and with he and his mate Birdee having four unhatched eggs in their nest, he decided to take no chances, and warn him away.

“Cover for me will you”, he said to his 2IC Peckster, perched on the streetlight just below, “I’m going in.” It had been a busy swooping day so far, putting the wind up a hipsterish skate-boarder, and some suspicious dude sticking stuff into letter boxes.

Magtor took to the air, soon rising to above tree height, and flying in a wide arc, ended up some three house widths behind the hapless rider. With wings on full thrust, he soon hit top speed, bearing down on the intruder like a homing missile. With calculated precision, he flew as close and menacing as he could over the rider’s head, just clearing his helmet, and fanning him with winged air.

The bike wobbled and quaked until spent, when it fell to the ground. Picking himself up, the shaken rider waved his fist in anger, “You bastard, you bloody bastard” he yelled at high as Magtor returned victorious to the power pole.

“Beautiful piece of aviating there Chief”, Peckster said, as the rider scurried away, “Won’t be seeing him again eh? Oh, by the way, did you hear about what happened Saturday arvo?”

“No mate, do tell”, Magtor answered warily, another ear bashing coming his way.

“Well, a few of the Pies were having a pecknic down on the train reserve, sunny day and everythink, and according to Old Feathron, they’d just cut the grass, and it was like a smorgasbord. Worms, snails, beetles and stuff, and anyway, young Flighty starts doing her head-bobbin’ pigeon walk, and everyone’s pissing themselves, and mate, I tells ya, a gorgeous young maghen is that Flighty, fair dinkum, she can ruffle my feathers any time she likes, for sure, anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, she see’s one of those birdwatching perverts, and-”

QUARDLE OODLE ARDLE WARDLE DOODLE.

“Hang on a sec mate”, Magtor keenly interrupted, “Thought I heard a call.” It came again, closer:

QUARDLE OODLE ARDLE WARDLE DOODLE.

“That’s Eric’s call from the creek boundary warning of intruders. Sez there’s a frickin’ army of them marching along Ally Crescent and heading our way!” Leaving Peckster in charge of nest security, Magtor quickly flew off to investigate.

“Excuse me Zakaria Khan”, called out Miss Stevens, a Grade 4 teacher from the local primary school, “Put your sunhat back on your head where it belongs thank you.” She was supervising 4SR’s nature walk activity to explore the banks of Taylors Creek. “Now please.” Zak reluctantly put his sunhat on as they continued their journey along Ally Crescent, heading towards the creek via Duncan street.

Having flown over territory rooftops to the Crescent to witness the approaching army with his own eyes, Magtor called out an immediate order to all members of his tribe. They were to ASAP perch upon the For Sale sign outside the corner house of Ally and Duncan for a possible swooping sortie.

Miss Stevens didn’t fancy climbing the long Duncan Street hill with the stragglers of 4SR, and brought them to a halt just before they reached the Duncan Street corner, to consult Google Maps on her phone to seek another way to the creek that was more downhillish.

“Now listen up”, Magtor said, as he addressed his quickly gathered troops, “No one makes a move until they march past the fire hydrant. Then, as instructed, we swoop in from the north east, wheel tightly, reform, then swoop again from the south west. And no pecking. Did you hear me Peckster? No pecking!”

“My sunhat is hurting my head again Miss”, Zak called out, beginning to cry, “It’s too smaaall.”

“Hold steady there” ordered Magtor, “Wait for my order.”

“Well, congratulations Napoleon”, Birdee said out the side of her beak to Magtor, “I’ve been sitting on that flamin’ nest now for two frickin’ weeks, and just as my babies are about to hatch, you drag me over here for what? World war bloody three?”

“Um, excuse me miss”, came a kindly voice from an elderly woman behind the hedge Grade 4SR were halted at, ”I wouldn’t be taking the kiddies up Duncan Street if I were you dear, there’s a magpie nest up there in a gum tree, and the buggers might swoop the youngsters.”

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say so”, said Miss Stevens. “OK then gang, we’ll carefully cross over Duncan street, and keep going along Ally Crescent”, and she led them away.

Suddenly, from the garden behind the For Sale sign, a franchise gardener’s whipper snipper roared into action, and the magpies, fearing for the length of their over-hanging tail feathers, quickly retreated skywards.

Danger averted by chance.

Back on nest-watch, Magtor noticed something gleaming in the grass below his pole. He dropped down to check it out, and saw it was a piece of silver paper glinting in the sun. He knew how Birdee loved to decorate her nest with such things, and picking it up in his beak, decided to downgrade his Chieftain’s role somewhat, and take it up to his beloved mate as a peace offering.