Territorial magpies are an occupational hazard for Leigh Valley Hawk and Owl Sanctuary owner Martin Scuffins and his wedge tail eagle Yarrum.
Nothing is predictable when dealing with wild birds, even those who are well trained and old-hands at performing in public.
Mr Scuffins had to deal with not only his own birds during a public display at Buninyong on Saturday, but aggressive territorial magpies who decided to take on his wedge tailed eagle Yarrum during a school holiday show.
Yarrum is the finale of their public display in case the aggressive magpies, who swoop at the pair, choose to make an appearance.
A trio of magpies disrupted Saturday’s show, trying to scare Yarrum away from their offspring.
“When I bring the wedge tail eagles out the local magpies go crazy because there’s a predatory bird in their home nesting territory and they want to drive it away,” he said.
Mr Scuffins’ sanctuary is generally closed to the public so public shows are his way of spreading the message about bird conservation. At Buninyong’s Royal Park he flew Yarrum, Nankeen kestrel Jedda, Australian hobby Pickle, and barking owl Skekzi.
“If people see the birds up close, hopefully they gain a sense of empathy toward them and toward protecting the habitat they share with us,” Mr Scuffins said.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.