Old hob­bies take flight in spring

The mag­pies have won – the push­bike is back in moth­balls

The Morning Bulletin - - STAFF - with Greg Bray Greg Bray blogs at greg­bray­writer.word­press.com. Find him on Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

The coun­cil tried whack­ing up warn­ing signs in known mag­pie hotspots, but the lit­tle spoil­sports pre­tended they couldn’t read...

AH, SPRING. When a young man’s thoughts turn to love and, for some rea­son, old blokes like me dust off our push­bikes smack bang in the mid­dle of mag­pie nest­ing sea­son. Why I choose this time of year to trun­dle around town on my faith­ful bi­cy­cle, Pub­truck, is some­thing of a mys­tery.

Per­haps it’s be­cause I’ve been in­spired by the mi­gra­tion of the lit­tle east­ern curlews who re­turn to Oz around this time of year af­ter their epic, 10,000km long-haul flight from Siberia. Ap­par­ently they shed half their body­weight in the process.

Un­for­tu­nately, I haven’t lost any weight but the mobs of mag­pies lin­ing up to lay into me and Pub­truck are cer­tainly get­ting a solid work­out.

The coun­cil tried whack­ing up warn­ing signs in known mag­pie hotspots, but the lit­tle spoil­sports pre­tended they couldn’t read and car­ried on bomb­ing me out­side their coun­cil-des­ig­nated swoop­ing zones.

I tried mul­ti­ple mag­pie de­ter­rents, much to the amuse­ment of my fam­ily, neigh­bours and as­ton­ished strangers.

In fact, I even de­signed a full body suit bristling with cable ties, but that par­tic­u­lar rocket didn’t make it to the launch pad when Long Suf­fer­ing Wife re­alised I was se­ri­ous about wear­ing it in pub­lic. “They’re just birds! Hon­estly, how much dam­age can they pos­si­bly do?” she asked as I sat sulk­ing in the shed.

This is pre­cisely what some­one who trav­els ex­clu­sively in a car with all the win­dows wound up would say.

Then I got all zen about it. “What would Bud­dha do?” I pon­dered.

Filling my mitt with mince, I tod­dled down the road to be­friend the clos­est black and white ter­ror­ists and it worked. Sadly, I don’t have enough time, or mince, to bribe the other 68 pairs of nest­ing mag­pies around town.

So I tem­po­rar­ily moth­balled Pub­truck, then sug­gested to Long Suf­fer­ing Wife an­other par­tic­u­larly stim­u­lat­ing spring­time ex­er­cise we could both en­joy safely in­doors.

As she dou­bled over with laugh­ter, I sud­denly re­mem­bered why I choose this time of year to get on my bike.

Hon­estly, in this sea­son of my life, things are def­i­nitely go­ing to the birds.

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