Couple entranced by playful tame magpie

Shoe fetish: The magpie seems to love shoes and finds them very interesting to peck at.
Shoe fetish: The magpie seems to love shoes and finds them very interesting to peck at.

A Blenheim couple have been entertained by the playful antics of a magpie that has taken up residence in their garden.

Ian Uffindell said the bird liked to play with his dog's tennis ball, and would even roll over onto its back when approached by people.

It grabs hold of your hand with its feet and plays with you with its beak, he said.

"We can just walk up to it in the garden and pick it up," Mr Uffindell said.

"It seems to like sitting on my wife's arm, and hops up and takes food from us.

"We suspect it must have had toys and was played with - our dog's tennis ball is very entertaining to it and it spends a lot of time pecking at it."

However, Mr Uffindell was concerned the bird had escaped from somewhere, as it was very tame and playful.

The bird flew between houses at Logan Pl during the day, but kept coming back to their garden, he said.

"It plays very delicately and doesn't peck hard at all," Mr Uffindell said.

"It's very inquisitive and inspects everyone, especially their shoes."

It was not too fond of cameras though, especially not camera straps, and snapped at them a bit more wildly, he said.

A handkerchief caused great excitement, with the magpie tugging it to the floor from Mr Uffindell's hand.

The Uffindell's noticed the bird on their property at the weekend, but it could have been coming for longer.

Mr Uffindell hoped the real owner of the bird would come forward and claim it, because they had obviously spent a lot of time with it, he said.

The magpie's wings had been clipped, but it could still fly.

"We just hope that its true owners see this and come to get him," he said.

Mr Uffindell can be contacted on 03 578 5010.

The Marlborough Express