Hello! This is a second AMA as it's been a year since. I look after an imprinted Magpie called Sophie. Ask us (?) anything you like about Corvids or just questions!

My Proof: https://imgur.com/1wJxdYl https://twitter.com/breesophiebree/status/904791157309353985

Comments: 748 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

Kaiserhawk1220 karma

Where does Sophie stash the shiny good?

bowdie731742 karma

She has a bunch of stash places! I always try to design her perches so they end in corners or joins with some space. I made her some 45degree wood peices that fit in the corners so she can stash food in them too. I think the cutest thing is when she stashes something, but then gets a leaf to cover the stash!

UnoVentiCafePorFavor589 karma

Sophie is adorable! Do you think that she will one day be set free, like Penguin the instagram magpie, or will she be a forever companion?

bowdie731267 karma

Aw, thanks, she is lovely.

Sophie is my forever companion. She wouldn't make it in the wild as she'd just fly upto the first human she'd see and try to bree for them. It's illigal to release imprinted animals here in the UK, but I wouldn't dream of doing it, I love the daft bird too much!

CaptionClosed309 karma

What does that mean? She would try to bree for them?

wrincewind903 karma

I think it means that she'd fly over to them and make a noise that's roughly equivalent to 'hello yes i am hungry, feed me please? :D'

needless to say, that's not a good long-term survival strategy.

bowdie739 karma

Yeah, that's exactly what we imagine would happen. Not good

UserMaatRe541 karma

How did you get her?

What are you favorite submissions to #feetsfriday?

bowdie73988 karma

She came to us from a rescue. Some kids stole some eggs from a nest, probably hoping they were owl or something like that. When they hatched and it was clear they were magpie, they dropped them on the local (to them) RSPCA (or like agency) and the nice volunteers hand fed them. Unfortunately, whoever did that didn't have the training to not imprint so poor Sophie became imprinted on humans, and that's how we got her!

As for #feetsfriday, my favourites have to be the nice closeups. I really like seeing the scales and how they join and mesh with the other ones.

remhume536 karma

What type of personality does Sophie have? How well does communication work between you two - Can she react to human speech? What (other?) ways do you choose to communicate, what ways does she choose to communicate with you?

bowdie731684 karma

Sophie is mostly a very happy little thing. Somedays, she's not as into it as others - but that's normal. I always get a happy bree and my hand sat on no matter what. As I mentioned to cloysterbell, I've got used to knowing the noises she makes and if they're happy or not.

Sophie is also very good at phycsially expressing. Her head feathers rise and fall and are surprisingly expressive.

The other thing I love to see is if you give her something new (either a food or toy) and she doesn't like it, she holds it in her beak, looks me in the eye and just lets it drop out of her beak.

I always take that as a no. ;)

alocin42449 karma

I love seeing Sophie's meals on twitter - especially the bran flakes and popcorn! What's the usual breakdown of meat/carbs/fruit and veg she has, and what are her favourite foods and special treats? Thanks for doing another ama.

bowdie73586 karma

Her favourite food has to be the beefy strip. She gets some nearly every mealtime. Either cut into chunks, or as a strip so she can have fun ripping and pecking it.

Everyday she gets some dried mealworms, some sunflower seeds, a little suet, and beefy strip. And then the rest of it varies. One day it's a piece of cooked pasta, next is some other chewy meat products, some raw liver, maybe a little lamb chop, sometimes the supermarket will have little off cuts I buy cheaply for her.

Then it's the topping, bran flakes are cool, but she also enjoys mini shredded wheat, POPCORNS, some rich tea biscuit - something dry and rough because that's useful to keep her crop (the little mouth sac under a bird's lower beak) nice and clean.

ZenEngineer386 karma

Does she ever try to hide things in your ear?

If you lose something shiny do you end up looking outside to see if she took it?

bowdie73862 karma

Sometimes, yeah. Mostly food. I quite often get raw liver tucked into either my shirt collar or some other fold of fabric. I do sometimes get the liver (god.. why must it always be the raw liver?) pushed up into my nose, or (less often) into my ear.

Always fun, I've been a vegetarian for at least 15 years.

If I had something in my trouser pockets that was stealable, I'd for sure check in with her. She can take money out of my trousers, sometimes without me noticing. I don't keep anything in my breast pocket that I don't want her to find. Sometimes it's fun for her to think she's stolen something. ;)

cloysterbell378 karma

Is Sophie good at mimicry? If so, what's the strangest/most out of place thing you've ever heard her mimic?

bowdie73768 karma

She's not a huge mimic, I kinda like how she's totally cool with chatting to her wild friends. She has worked out that I understand a few sounds. I know the happy noise she makes for toys, and food (they're two different noises) the sound she makes when she's tired, her grumpy noise, and others like that. I know people say they understand what their animals are saying, but I think I do!

torribles206 karma

Could you talk a little about the environment sophie lives in? Her area seems very custom designed.

bowdie73367 karma

I tried to make it as easy to vary and fix as I could. It's fixed to the ground quite firmly, and has mesh under all the gravel and stones (to make it hard for anything to burrow up into.

As for the perches and stuff, I keep any large branches I find so I can swap them out when I think she would like a change (or when the wood gets too soft) Parts like her bedroom at the back are lined and inuslated so she can sleep there in the nighttime. Although in the summer she likes to sleep outside.

It's important to have perches at various heights too. Sometimes she likes being higher up!

As it's open to the elements, and near our wild bird feeders she gets quite a lot of company from the other birds locally. A family of magpies live nearby, and she regularly mixes with them quite happily - I hardly ever have to break them up. She feeds the young magpies from her food, I guess she can't resist a hungry baby!

Chillivata152 karma

I'm curious about what kind of health precautions you have to take for Sophie. Does she have regular vet visits, any specific supplements you feed her to keep her healthy?

bowdie73470 karma

Well, we make sure she gets as balanced diet as we can provide for her. During the moulting season I get extra vitamins that I sneak into her food, but other that than the only thing we have to do is a mite treatment every once in a while to make sure she doesn't get flatfly.

The odd thing about that is that the first time I had to do that treatment, she was scared and made it quite hard work, but it got rid of the mite overnight. So the next time I did it, I just showed her the bottle of stuff, and she bent her neck calmly and just let me apply it. She'd worked out that that stuff made the itchy mite go away.

The vet we take our cats to can arrange bird care as well, but luckily we've not needed to use them.

SarahWritesBest140 karma

Beautiful and adorable (both of you!). How did you get involved in rescue work, and what's your advice to those who want to follow in your feathery footsteps?:)

bowdie73223 karma

Thanks! We originally took in two other birds, an injured Rook and Crow. Ms.bowdie has always loved Corvids, and we got a call to ask if we'd take an imprinted magpie. Sophie lived inside with us for the six months or so it took to get her aviary setup, and then once it was late spring that year (2011) we moved her into her home.

Strictly speaking, that's all the rescue work we do. If you'd like to get involved, have a google for wildlife rescues near you and ask if they'd like your help. Bear in mind that you might end up caring for an animal that isn't quite as happy to see you as Sophie is! :D

sn00kered83 karma

Do you have any other pets or care for other species of animals? If so, how does your relationship to those animals differ from/how is it similar to your relationship with Sophie?

bowdie73177 karma

We also care for two injured wild birds, a Rook and a Crow. They live in another aviary in our garden. We also have three cats. ;)

As the rook and crow are injured wilds (their injuires mean they wouldn't make it in the wild) they're a lot less cuddly than Sophie, but they're as cool as the need to be. They're never going to sit on my hand, but they go into their bedroom when I go inside their aviary and jump out the moment I leave - so it's cool.

The cats and birds are kept apart. ;)

mowbuss14 karma

Having looked at your photos, what particular sub species of magpie is this? She is completely different to those we get in South Aus, which is what my own Swoop is.

Here is a photo of Swoop.


bowdie7315 karma

Sophie is an Eurasian Magpie. Pica pica. She's the magpie that exists all over Europe, Canada, some parts of the USA and Russia. They're members of the Corvid family, so the same as crows, rooks, jays, ravens and the like.

ostensiblyjenn11 karma

Does Sophie recognize herself in the mirror?

bowdie737 karma

Absolutely, she even recognises herself in a front facing iphone camera!

YoshV-16 karma

What methods did you use to get to 65 Hunter?

bowdie7318 karma

Sorry friend, I assume that's either a video game I've not played or a film I've not seen.