Thursday, February 04, 2016

Terror Australis - Magpies

Anyone who has wandered around Australian suburbia in the springtime knows that danger lurks above. Danger in the form of a magpie. They do not like anyone venturing too close to their nests, and they take particular dislike to cyclists. One year a magpie swooped me and opened up a cut just below my ear, he was smart enough to dive blow my bike helmet. The most nasty magpies actually go for the eyes, and can cause serious damage.

This is a video of a different magpie, not quite as vicious as that one on Farm Street, but the Berserker St magpie still took his nest protecting activities seriously. It's hard enough sharing the roads with drivers who think they own the bitumen without the distraction of a bird intent on your destruction! 

 This preoccupation with magpies has had some positive side effects, an awareness of the  natural world around me and it's seasonal rhythms, and an outpouring of creativity. Here is a woodprint I did during a workshop with local printmaker Michelle kershaw at the Rockhampton Art Gallery. A magpie is an obvious choice for a black and white print, after all!
And I know I've posted this before, but it's appropriate for this post, a handy guide to safe cycling during magpie season. It may at some point be expanded into a picture book.

In my next post I will show you an automaton (figurative kinetic artwork) that was also inspired by magpies. Stay tuned for that!

But worse, far worse than the magpie, is the drop bear. Despite all it's gleeful promotion of deadly Australian wildlife, the Australian Tourism people keep all news of the drop bear suppressed. I'd write more about them except Honzablog is not a place of horror and I don't want to be shut down...

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