Monday, 12 December 2011

Magpies



I cannot help having a soft spot for the magpie. He is such a very smart bird, always turning up as though he is in full evening dress, whatever time of day he arrives. On top of that he has such a bright eye and such an intelligent look.

I do know the downside - he steals other birds' eggs and even snatches and eats their babies from the nest if he gets half a chance. The farmer hates magpies and this year, when we had two pairs lurking around the bird table, he cursed them cruelly.

Now that the leaves have left the trees I can see why we had two pairs visiting us, for within a few yards of each other, along the lane, are two magpies' nests. Birds are clever in that they build in such a position that their nests are hard to find. Then the leaves fall and many of them are there for all to see.

I wouldn't have seen either nest but yesterday the farmer pointed them out to me and what clever nests they are. All my bird books speak of the magpie building 'a domed nest' but the farmer put it much better when he said they always put a roof on their nest - to protect the babies from predators and from the sun and to keep off the worst of the rain. I always knew they were clever.

10 comments:

Loren said...

I just discovered their nesting habits this year when I visited The Garden of the Gods in Colorado after years of trying to photograph them.

The museum's exhbit featuring a nest was my favortie display. Amazing.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

It's always amazing the houses one can see when the leaves depart from the trees. Here we are full of squirrel domains. Much to Edward and Apple's chagrin.

Toffeeapple said...

I'm not so fond of them, we have lots here and the noise they make is dreadful. Earlier in the year, I counted twenty on one roof top..

Heather said...

I didn't realise the reason for the shape of the magpie's nest - clever bird. My father told me of the old country superstition that you should always greet the magpie politely with- 'Good morning Mr.Magpie'. Perhaps they were thought to bring bad luck and by greeting them it would be cancelled out. As you say, they have very nasty habits but are so handsome.

Everything Changes said...

I have posted pictures earlier of my back yard visitor--Cooper's Hawk. Though in one sense he is a nuisance for lurking around and stealing my finches and sparrows; yet, he is magnificent! Amazing creatures all!

Gerry Snape said...

Clever old magpie...ready for a dance in his white shirt and tails!

acornmoon said...

I have a soft spot for Magpies too, their nests are amazing. Sometimes they will use wire, found objects, etc to build the structure and that amazing domed roof.

Thanks for you lovely card too. xxx

Tom Stephenson said...

They can count up to 13, Weaver.

the cuby poet said...

Magpies are such beautiful birds with terrible behaviour which seems to make them the bullies of the air. There are many here and they compete with seagulls in antisocial activity! Learnt about the nest so thanks for that.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for commenting. Heather reminded me that we used to say - Good morning Mr Magpie and how are your children today when we were kids.