I go searching for them in old picture books at op-shops, and in the children’s stories of my great-grandfather
The magpies used to greet me as I arrived at the beach shack, and as we left they’d re-assert their place once more, striding back into the front garden. But they seem to have moved on down the road these days. In their place, we have the bullet-proof bodies of the currawongs, beady-eyed, tough-beaked, sleek-winged, with their flash of white at the tail. They clatter like earthmoving machines on the tin roof and watch fiercely from the gutters.
They might be black and white, but they’re not my magpies. It seems our magpie family has moved on down the hill, and closer to the ocean, scared away by the bigger birds.