Monday 20 January 2020

Australia wildfires: Magpie mimics sirens after ‘hearing so many fire trucks’

The magpie was filmed in Newcastle in New South Wales, where 381 homes were destroyed this week.

The magpie in Newcastle, New South Wales (Gregory Andrews)
The magpie in Newcastle, New South Wales (Gregory Andrews)

By Edd Dracott, PA

An Australian magpie has been filmed mimicking the sound of a fire engine’s siren as wildfires in the country continue.

The bird was filmed in Newcastle, New South Wales, and has been viewed as a troubling sign of the severity of the fires – which have raged since September.

Gregory Andrews, who filmed the magpie’s novel trick on Boxing Day, posted it to Facebook with the caption: “This is one of the coolest things ever.

“Today I met an Australian magpie in Newcastle NSW which had learned to sing the calls of fire-engines and ambulances.”

Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade said the magpie seems to have picked up the because “there have been so many emergency vehicles driving through bushfire-affected towns of New South Wales”.

Alexander Verbeek of the Institute for Planetary Security in Stockholm suggested the video illustrates the effects of man-made climate change.

“My first tweet in the third decade of the third millennium illustrates best the sad state of our plane,” he tweeted.

“An Australian magpie has been hearing so many fire trucks that he has started to copy the sirens. Yes, our house is on fire!”

On Thursday thousands of tourists fled Australia’s eastern coast as worsening conditions, fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds, are predicted over the weekend.

In New South Wales 381 homes have been destroyed just this week and 18 people have died since the fires began burning.

PA Media

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