The disastrous bushfire crisis in Australia continues. In New South Wales and Victoria, authorities have enacted emergency measures that allow firefighters to forcibly relocate residents if necessary, as the navy continues to evacuate 4,000 residents and tourists in Mallacoota on the Victoria coast after they fled to the beach when bushfires encircled the town.
The more you look, the grimmer it becomes.
Amongst the many horrendous videos and photos emerging from the fires raging across Australia, this one isn't the most attention-grabbing at first, but it's pretty bleak nonetheless. Captured in Newcastle, New South Wales, the video shows an Australian magpie perfectly mimicking the sounds of emergency service sirens as they head to deal with the fire.
"OK this is one of the coolest things ever," former Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews wrote on Facebook of his video. "Today I met an Australian magpie in Newcastle NSW which had learned to sing the calls of fire-engines and ambulances."
Australian Magpies are incredible mimics and can impersonate over 35 species of bird species, according to the New South Wales Government, as well as dogs and horses.
When they live in close proximity to people, they have also been known to mimic humans. Rather grimly, this one appears to have been in regular close proximity to emergency vehicles to effectively mimic their sirens.
Though friendly in the video, the species are best avoided during "swooping season" when they become infamously aggressive and territorial. During this time – as the name suggests – they are known to swoop down low and fast over people in order to warn them off and protect their nests, clacking their bills as they go. Last year a man on a bicycle died after attempting to avoid a magpie that swooped at him in New South Wales.
The fires have been disastrous not just for people who have lost their homes, but for wildlife too, with experts estimating that nearly half a billion animals may have been killed since they began. Meanwhile, a distressing image has been circulating in the media of a kangaroo joey that got caught in a barbed-wire fence and burned to death as it attempted to flee the blaze.
We would highly recommend not looking at it if you are of a sensitive disposition (it's here if you are not) but if you do, here are two kangaroos having a bar fight as a palate cleanser.