Monday, 12 December 2011
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.