A retired train controller in Victoria, Australia, has managed to combine his love of animals with one of his favourite hobbies, playing the harmonica.
MV Magpie in tree, Wallington, Victoria, Australia
MVs John and Vera Allen in garden (2 shots)
MV Mr. Allen standing on patio whistling to magpie
MVs Magpie flies down from tree to join other magpies on lawn near patio (2 shots)
MVs & CUs Mr. Allen feeding magpies
MVs & SVs Mr. Allen playing mouth-organ to magpies, and magpies singing (17 shots)
SV Magpies continue singing and GV magpies and Mr. Allen speaking
MR. ALLEN: "I sit down here of a morning and it's really relaxing to be able to sit here and play to them and just listen. And I enjoy it and they appear to enjoy it as much as I do."
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Background: A retired train controller in Victoria, Australia, has managed to combine his love of animals with one of his favourite hobbies, playing the harmonica.
SYNOPSIS: The Australian magpie is known for its boldness and its distinct melodious call is a feature of the Australian bush. A retired couple in Wallington, Victoria, Mr. and Mrs. John Allen, live on a ten-acre property where the birds abound. They've made friends with the magpies by feeding them each day.
The Allens know the magpies never pass up an opportunity for a feed, and over the years the birds have become quite tame and they obviously enjoy this daily ritual.
Mr. Allen has played the harmonica for a long time and it was during one of these feeding sessions a while ago that he discovered how remarkably the magpies responded to human contact. He decided to form his own "Black and White Minstrel Show". The daily meal-time is an excellent opportunity for the birds to accompany Mr. Allen on his harmonica. The result is a most unusual musical harmony.
Mr. Allen doesn't expect that his singers will ever be stars on a TV pop show, but he says the daily recitals are great relaxation and therapy in his retirement.