The Wildlifer

A Lone Magpie

Chatterpie Song

Things you need to know about MAGPIES!

Eurasian or Common Magpie
Pica pica

If you want to ward off bad luck, the usual greeting to the Magpie is ‘Good morning, Mr Magpie. How are Mrs Magpie and all the other little magpies? ‘

I have been known to wish the Magpie well before, but then nothing to do with myth or legend or superstition, more to do with – it is my way. Mine is more the
polite wildlife salute.

One for Sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told,
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss,
Eleven for health,
Twelve for wealth,
Thirteen beware, it’s the devil himself

‘One for Sorrow’ is a nursery rhyme for children about the Magpie, and the earliest version dates back to 1780. Superstition has it that the number of birds you see interprets how much good or bad luck you will have. It is not always associated purely with the Magpie but also with members of the corvid family.

I have always had a fondness for the cheekiness of the Magpie. They have a way about them. Like the Jackdaws, they are part of the corvid family. They have constantly reminded me of the kookaburra, although the Australian Magpie is unrelated to other maggies worldwide.

Magpies are curious and intelligent. Some magpies can recognise themselves when it comes to the mirror test. MSR, or mirror self-recognition, is a behavioural test after which it can see if an animal can recognise its features in a reflection. They can also remember you, especially if they remember swooping you during their breeding season.

Magpies are known for their ability to sing, and at one point in history, they were kept as domestic caged birds in residences. The “pie” part of their name comes from Old English and is derived from the Latin pica. It used to be that many birds were given common names like that Jenny Wren, Robin Redbreast and, in the case of our bird here, maggie pie. This was soon replaced with the term we use today, Magpie.

Many people see magpies as pests, a species known for their ability to eat miscellaneous items but with a tendency to raid orchards and fruit. Ultimately the Magpie is both an omnivore and a scavenger combined.

Some see them as the absolute master of all trades in scavenging, predation, nuisance and pest dominator. They are adaptable and can see opportunities wherever food is concerned. Many regard them as birds with lousy attitudes; l don’t; l do see them as survivors. They have this mischievousness and arrogance that many fanciers cannot abide.

They will gather together when not in the breeding season and congregate in large flocks.

In my eyes, they are an attractive species – black and white plumage that almost appears a blueish-green teal-like colour in the plumage. They are a reasonably large species measuring around fifteen inches long with a wingspan of around two feet and weighing 250g.

Overall they are relatively social birds. However, for a while, especially during the breeding season – August to September, you should be wary of territorial male magpies defending their nesting areas because it isn’t unusual for them to swoop passers-by.

Many names know the Magpie. Here are a few: Bush Magpie, Chatterpie, Haggister, Madge, Mag, Maggie, Maggit, Mock-a-pie and Tell-piet in the example.

A group of Magpies is known as a Mischief, whilst a group of Crows is known as a Murder. Noah of the Ark couldn’t convince the Magpie to enter the boat, so the birds sat atop the roof for the entire journey.

Species Guide Directory

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

13 thoughts on “Magpie

  1. Your photography is masterful, you truly hold up your sites name, bringing to life, the earthly comforts, thank you. I am having a hard time, people like you make it easier to live peacefully. Thank you. I am glad I followed you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: