Just put some cold roast potatoes out on the bird table and within five minutes they were being devoured by three noisy, quarrelsome magpies, the crafty opportunist bird of folklore. Must be the King Edward flavour that sent them a bit loopy – they couldn’t get enough of them carbs man!
Magpies. Gang members in bizarre garb. That confident flick of the long tail. The trademark flight, undulating, unsteady, just enough lift. That cocky walk through tussock and over meadow, turning horse turds. Dressed up for a show. Do they really steal shiny objects and place them in their nests? Perhaps not. Do they tease other birds like falcons and hawks? Definitely yes, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. One cheeky magpie on a telegraph wire prodding and pulling at a kestrel’s tail feathers. Do they raid the nests of smaller birds for eggs and fledglings? Oh yes. Tis nature’s way of balancing things out.
And I can see some stretched out on the gamekeeper’s ‘display fence’ when I was a kid, alongside jays and crows and weasels and things. That was a long time ago; don’t think the gamekeepers are still shooting everything that moves?
So, the magpie loves roasties. We’ll keep filling them up so they won’t have to go nest raiding…..