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Magpies

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Zziggy
1089928.  Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:01 pm Reply with quote

... aren't attracted to shiny things apparently.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28797519

 
Posital
1089998.  Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:59 am Reply with quote

Oooo - but "scientists" at exeter uni are attracted to magpies...

That's my theory, which belongs to me and is mine!

 
neilbhood
1138352.  Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:35 am Reply with quote

So what's the theory behind : 1 for sorrow 2 for joy 3 for a girl and 4 for a boy 5 for silver 6 for gold 7 for a secret never to be told 8 for a wish and nine for a kiss 10 is a bird that you must not miss MAAAA-------AG----------PA------------AYE!!!!!

 
dr.bob
1138381.  Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:22 am Reply with quote

I preferred Jason Manford's version of that rhyme:

See one magpie: oh, there's a magpie.
See two magpies: oh, a couple of magpies.
See three magpies: that's a lot of magpies.
See four magpies: have I left some bread out?

 
AlmondFacialBar
1138393.  Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:22 am Reply with quote

Because one is for sorrow, when you meet a magpie on its own here in Ireland you're supposed to address it as male and request the whereabouts of its beautiful wife. So...

What if the magpie in question identifies as female?
What if the magpie in question identifies as male, but gay?
What if the magpie lives in an unmarried relationship?
What if the magpie is recently widowed or has just been through a traumatic break-up?
And what is it with the automatic assumption that the presumptive Mrs Magpie is only validated through conventional physical attractiveness?

Seriously, I ask you!

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
suze
1138394.  Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:36 am Reply with quote

neilbhood wrote:
So what's the theory behind : 1 for sorrow 2 for joy 3 for a girl and 4 for a boy 5 for silver 6 for gold 7 for a secret never to be told 8 for a wish and nine for a kiss 10 is a bird that you must not miss MAAAA-------AG----------PA------------AYE!!!!!


That TV theme is based on a rhyme which dates back more than two hundred years, and the meaning was literal. It prescribed a method of counting magpies as a means of foretelling the future.

A single magpie has been considered a bad omen for at least six hundred years. That belief is first found in medieval Italy, and is connected to an old belief that a single European magpie (Pica pica) was present at the birth of Jesus. This belief is nonsense since that bird is not found further south than Turkey, but that's by the by.

The rest of the rhyme is English and probably later. It's first found in print in 1777 (John Brand, Observations on the popular antiquities of Great Britain) where it appears as:

One for sorrow, two for mirth
Three for a wedding, four for a death

(You will note that "mirth" and "death" do not rhyme. For that reason, some replace "death" with the more cheerful "birth" - but that seems not to be the original form of the rhyme.)

 
ratel.h.badger
1156124.  Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:26 am Reply with quote

Poem by New Zealand Poet Denis Glover (c.1964)

The Magpies

When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm
The bracken made their bed
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said
Tom's hand was strong to the plough
and Elizabeth's lips were red
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said

Year in year out they worked
while the pines grew overhead
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said

But all the beautiful crops soon went
to the mortgage man instead
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said

Elizabeth is dead now (it's long ago)
Old Tom's gone light in the head
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said

The farms still there. Mortgage corporations
couldn't give it away
and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies say.

It is the end of October... that means Magpie season... school children all around New Zealand wear bicycle helmets instead of sun-hats in the playground.

 
gruff5
1156280.  Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:50 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
... That belief is first found in medieval Italy, and is connected to an old belief that a single European magpie (Pica pica) was present at the birth of Jesus. This belief is nonsense since that bird is not found further south than Turkey, but that's by the by ...

Yes, sighting a bird that two millenia ago was a few hundred miles south of its present day range was the bit about the nativity story that I found hardest to swallow.

As for East .... I saw loads of magpies in the Hunza valley of Pakistan. Strange to see such homely birds so far away from home.

Hordes of sparrows in Amritsar's Golden Temple & get a few here in Palawan, also. But exotic birds these days in England ....

 
CharliesDragon
1156284.  Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:57 am Reply with quote

I've wondered about Australian magpies apparently being so aggressive people can hardly go outside at times, since the magpies here don't harass anything besides cats. (And not even that, sometimes.) I looked it up, and the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is of course a completely different bird than the European one (Pica pica).

It annoys me a bit when the same name is used for similar, but unrelated animals, probably because European explorers/settlers thought they looked similar to the animals back home.

To be honest I have enough trouble keeping the names of birds and plants straight because they have different names in the two languages I know (duh) and I'm often not interested enough to look up the translation, I settle for "Okay, it's a bird/tree/flower."

Anyway, Wikipedia offers some ways to avoid getting your scalp scratched open by Australian magpies:

Quote:
If it is necessary to walk near the nest, wearing a broad-brimmed or legionnaire's hat or using an umbrella will deter attacking birds, but beanies and bicycle helmets are of little value as birds attack the sides of the head and neck.

Magpies prefer to swoop at the back of the head; therefore, keeping the magpie in sight at all times can discourage the bird. Using a basic disguise to fool the magpie as to where a person is looking, such wearing sunglasses on the back of the head. Eyes painted on hats or helmets will deter attacks on pedestrians but not cyclists.


Cyclists can deter attack by attaching a long pole with a flag to a bike is an effective deterrent, and the use of cable ties on helmets has become common and appears to be effective

 
AlmondFacialBar
1156297.  Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:16 am Reply with quote

CharliesDragon wrote:
I've wondered about Australian magpies apparently being so aggressive people can hardly go outside at times, since the magpies here don't harass anything besides cats. (And not even that, sometimes.) I looked it up, and the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is of course a completely different bird than the European one (Pica pica).

It annoys me a bit when the same name is used for similar, but unrelated animals, probably because European explorers/settlers thought they looked similar to the animals back home.


Case in point - European (Erithacus rubecula) and American (Turdus migratorius) robins. An American friend and me were amazed to find out that the latter are actually trushes after she failed to identify a European robin and told me American ones were about three times as big. Well, that would be the reason then. German is unerringly pragmatic in naming animal species (which is why the German for Hoatzin translates into stinky bird), so we call it the migratory thrush.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
gruff5
1156318.  Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:25 am Reply with quote

there'll be bluebirds over, the white cliffs of Dover, when we meet again

(ie never)

 
Peeeeeteeeee
1160570.  Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:11 pm Reply with quote

Being from New Zealand I am familiar with some off the Australian Magpies that have made there way over here. Weird, as I write this I can hear one out the back. I just checked and there are two going though the next door bin.

I have heard all sorts of stories about how nasty and aggressive they are. They are certainly one of the bigger, smarter birds you will find in New Zealand but in my experience I do not think of them as particularly aggressive. There have been reports in New Zealand of them being scared off by Tui's. They are protective of there nesting area but they will only worn you if they know you are getting too close. The most aggressive bird in New Zealand (while protecting its nest) would have to be the New Zealand Falcon. Even the Sea Gull's are more aggressive than the magpie.

I often see Magpies out the back of my work. They are fascinating to watch. I can just about walk up the them and touch them.

 
Awitt
1165543.  Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:22 am Reply with quote

It's said that magpies became so aggressive around breeding time due to people climbing trees to take the eggs. Whether this is true I do not know, but going back beyond a couple of hundred years, the Aboriginals would have seen the eggs as a food source.

But nesting in suburbia is a problem, yes. I've been swooped twice on leaflet rounds in the breeding season, spring, from Sept - Nov., but have only felt the tip of the wing lightly touch my ear.
Thankfully I've not been attacked in the eyes, as what has happened to others.

There are now apps for the phone and a Book of Faces page for reporting magpie attacks.

 
Feralcat
1281353.  Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:47 pm Reply with quote

I have about 50 plus magpies at my place, Sometimes there can be over 100

I feed them

They never swoop me. They are intelligent birds and I am seen as a useful and harmless sharer of territory.

A few come into my house if the back door is open, despite pet cats.

I have been sitting on a bench INDOORS, 2 metres from the back door, eating out of a bowl and had a magpie sit on my knee, look into my bowl and choose something and help itself

Magic

If you dont want to be swooped by Australian magpies, carry some bread or bits of cheese or some little cat biscuits, etc as you walk about, doing your normal business and throw them a few bits of food when you see them, all year round. In breeding season they see you as a great friend and bring the new babies to meet you and introduce the babies to the food human that is a 'friend'. If you are a friend through the year, they wouldn't dream of harrying you - and they do recognise different people.

I have a number of other bird species that call in.

I think my place has become a neutral territory and meeting place for magpies, as so many call in. Another neutral territory seems to be at the golf course - or at least, the part I drive past. Often there will be 20 or 50 or so, dotted about the area of the course I pass. I jokily call it The Marriage Mart, where parents might take the teens to meet the available opposite sex, to pair off and then set up territories.

 

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