Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A new South Wales, Australia, man attempted to keep birds away from his cat's food with a homemade owl sculpture, but "accidentally made a magpie god."
Giulio Cuzzilla said he learned that magpies can be deterred with owl sculptures, but he didn't want to spend a lot of money on one, so he made his own out of paper mache and feathers.
"I now know it doesn't really look like an owl, but a dead cat rather," Cuzzilla wrote in a comment under his TikTok video.
He said the magpies initially seemed to fear his sculpture, but they eventually started to approach it and engage in behaviors Cuzzilla said seemed like "worship."
"I accidentally made a magpie god," he wrote.
Gisela Kaplan, an emeritus professor in animal behavior at the University of New England, said the magpies in the video aren't actually showing deference to the owl sculpture, they are making territorial calls to try to scare it away.
Cuzzilla said the magpie god's reign came to an end when a storm dismantled the idol. He said he has now grown a fondness for the magpies.
"When you observe their antics, you can't help but find them quite cute," he wrote. "We even named one of the babies Ricky."