I have blogged here about the relative lack of magpies in my garden – although as I am about to blog this seems to be being rectified! This post by James Common takes a real in depth look at the oft made claim that magpies are “bad for songbirds” and therefore deserve some persecution.

James Common

“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 for a bird
You must not miss”


The above nursery rhyme is one familiar to many: one drilled into us as children and recited with enthusiasm, even in adulthood. A familiar verse associated with the Magpie (Pica pica) – a bird which occupies a special place in the hearts of many nature lovers, myself included. A charismatic corvid of unrivaled intelligence, iridescent beauty and brazen charm and, thankfully, a firm fixture of daily life across most of Britain. Magpies – once scarce as a result of widespread persecution – now a welcome sight in our woodlands, hedgerows, fields and gardens.  Well, welcomed by many, but not all…

Like most corvids, the Magpie is a…

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