The Magpie is a very special bird that is highly intelligent, proud, conceited, territorial and dominant to the extreme. Never underestimate the deep understanding this bird has, he may not show compassion and reverence, but these emotions are given freely to those he protects. Every Magpie has a fairy within its soul and this fairy directs and guides the Magpie's actions. If you resonate with the Magpie he will protect you and lead you to the discovery of many magical mysteries. When you believe anything is possible.

There are many myths and superstitions that traditionally surround the Magpie, seeing through them will release the secret of the magpie.

Researching the mythology surrounding the Magpie is really interesting. The Magpie was a very important and interesting mythical bird in history before the Christians came along. This is evident as there was a concentrated smear campaign against the Magpie after the Christians showed up on the scene. It was said that the Magpie represented the devil as it didn't mourn the death of Christ. Both it and a dove sat on the cross - the dove caught the tears of Christ, while the Magpie seemed indifferent. The church also started a rumour that the tongue of a Magpie contained a drop of blood from the devil. From this, it was theorized that if you cut the tongue of a Magpie to let out this drop then it would be capable of human speech. Who knows how many Magpies were mutilated as a result of this thoughtless fairytale the church created. The Magpie was associated with prophecy in the following rhyme (which has many variants)…

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

This depended on how many magpies you saw in a group. There is some basis to prophecy by numbers as it appears that it was folklore that if magpies were traveling in twos the weather was fair, but in ones it was not. The originating phrase was "A single magpie in spring, foul weather will bring". This piece of folklore has some measure of truth it appears. Magpies do travel in pairs when the weather is fair.

The Magpie is featured in some creation myths and one myth is that it allows its tail to be used as a bridge for people needing to cross a river into this world.

Each country sees the Magpie in a different way…

In the UK, Magpies are traditionally feared by those who are superstitious. To see a Magpie on its own is supposed to be unlucky and to undo that bad luck you have to point out the Magpie to someone, so you are not the only one to see it. If there is no one else around you can salute the Magpie or say ‘’Good morning Mr Magpie, I hope your family are well.’’

As you can see, the solitary Magpie is seen as bad luck, something to be feared. Perhaps this should be reversed and the solitary Magpie will then become a lucky symbol, a symbol to be revered. When you see this solitary Magpie make a wish. When the wish materializes you will understand the true magic of the Magpie and you will understand that someone created this fearful superstition to prevent us from truly understanding and utilizing the magic of the Magpie.

In China, the Magpie is a symbol of good fortune and a singing Magpie foretells happiness and good luck.

In Native America, the Magpie is considered as a friend and helper. And in Native American folklore, wearing a magpie feather is a sign of fearlessness in some tribes as the magpie is bold and has little fear.

In South Dakota, there is a myth that all the animals had a race to determine if the two legged animals had the right to eat the four legged ones or if it was the reverse. The Bison was winning, but the Magpie was sitting between his horns. As he got close to the finish line she burst forward and won. The Magpie straddles both the inspiration and chaos archetypes.

In Greece, the Magpie is sacred and linked to the god Bacchus. In ancient Greece, the Magpie was associated with Dionysos and intoxication. Also in Greece, the 9 daughters of Peirus were turned into Magpie’s for boasting that they were better singers than the muses.

In Mongolia, the Magpie is considered a clever bird with control over the weather.

In Korea, the Magpie delivers good news and invites good people into your life. He is also seen as the village spirit. Therefore in Korea, the Magpie is seen as the symbol of good luck and happiness.

In many parts of Europe, the Magpie is honored due to the fact it warns people of the approach of wolves and armed men.

In Scandinavia, the Norse snow shoe goddess Skadi was associated with Magpies.

In Italy, there is an Italian opera based on the thieving magpie ('La gazza ladra'). Gazza actually means Magpie in Italian and is the basis for the word 'Gazette'.

If the Magpie was truly unlucky then no one would use the name to represent their club or business. In America there is the Palmerston Magpies football team, they dress in black with white stripes. (Gary Caldwell then scored an own goal three minutes later to leave the Premier League side stunned and the Magpies looking forward to a trip to Fulham.)

The Magpie is one of those enigmatic birds that many people dislike simply because they are enigmatic. The Magpie is a bold bird 18-24 inches long with a wingspan of 21-24 inches. An adult Magpie weighs 5-7 ounces and the males and females look exactly the same. It is a black bird with a white belly, shoulders, and partial white primary flight feathers. Its extra long tail and some wing feathers are iridescent blue green or teal. The tail is so long that it makes up half the overall length. They live in continental Europe, North West Africa, Russia, Korea, and North America. Originally it was just called a 'pie'. In fact the translation of the French name for the black billed Magpie is 'American Pie'. The Magpie can live 4 to 6 years in the wild.

What people first notice about the Magpie is probably its voice. Magpies make all sorts of sounds form 'Mag! Mag! Mag!' to 'Yak! Yak! Yak!'. They can mimic many other birds, animal sounds, etc. (I used to whistle to the Magpie in my garden, he would call to me when in the tree by my back garden and I would talk to him and whistle. Eventually he started to mimic my whistle until the whistle sounded like my whistle). This is very advantageous as by imitating other animals and birds they can make other animals and birds do things. One could imitate a hawk and have a sparrow burst out of its nest allowing the Magpie quick access to a treat. A lone Magpie has the talent of producing a layering of sound to make it sound as if many Magpie’s are all in one tree.

If a predator is around, this makes their task a daunting one. Attacking one magpie is easy, but if it sounds like there are 10 or so, well that's a more difficult task. The Magpie is highly intelligent and being one of the smartest birds in the world it uses this to steal, forage, gather food etc. They have a great reputation for thievery, especially of things that are shiny. People tend to think of their 'thievery' as a negative thing, but it’s an unfair judgment as all animals technically 'steal' their food in a way. The Magpie has used its great intelligence to thrive with the expansion of humans rather than become endangered by it. They welcome the new food sources we provide and seem to expand where there are humans. Magpies are one of the few animals (and the only bird) that has been proven to be self aware in such a way that they can recognize themselves distinctly in a mirror and know that it is a reflection. Magpies are interesting in the way they move sometimes as well. They will normally walk on the ground as their standard ground movement, but when something interests them, they will often hop sideways towards it.

Magpies are omnivores in the truest sense. They mainly eat insects and small rodents but will also eat eggs, young birds, grains, berries, vegetables. Pretty much anything edible is considered. They have a taste for grasshoppers and eat many of these. In fact in ancient times they were considered an enemy of the locust. They have been observed occasionally preying upon adult songbirds, much like a hawk. Magpies will also land on Moose, Deer, Bison, etc and pick ticks off them. They mostly eat them, but they have been found to occasionally just move the tick to somewhere else in the forest without killing it.

The Magpies will often cache food they have found so they can later retrieve it (I have seen the Magpies burying food in my garden and I love to look at what they have buried, often it has been dog biscuits, iced cake, cheese, gold sweet wrappers or fruit) It is mainly the birds of prey that prey upon Magpies. Owls are an age old enemy, taking the Magpies as they sleep, but also hawks and eagles will take magpies when they can. Humans have often put bounties on Magpies, due to the fact they were blamed for stealing songbird eggs. Up to 150 000 Magpies were killed this century. The truth of the thievery and its effect on songbird populations is much different than one would think. Sure they steal an egg here or there, but studies have shown that songbird populations actually increase when Magpies are in the area. This is likely due to the risk of birds of prey picking them off with the protection of a larger bird in the area.

Magpies are monogamous by nature. They will stick with one partner year after year. If their partner dies, there is evidence they gather others from the surrounding loose flock and have a sort of mourning/funeral service. I have observed this several times and it is quite a thing to see. It almost sounds like they are trying to talk the dead partner back to life. Eventually they will choose a new mate. They are gregarious birds and keep to loose flocks. In colder weather they will often roost communally for the heat and community. They often go foraging and feeding in small parties as well. Courtship happens in the spring with the males performing elaborate dances with their wings to impress the females.

The male and female work as a team to create a nest out of a big ball of twigs and mud, the inside is lined with roots, grasses, and hair. Often the nest will even contain shiny treasures that the Magpies have found. The entrance is often concealed. To the casual observer the nests are a haphazard ball of sticks, but they are actually an engineering marvel taking up to 40 days to create. They breed between March and July with a clutch of 5 to 9 eggs. The male feeds the female while she is incubating (16-18 days) and they both share the feeding after that. The young can fly in 3 to 4 weeks and can feed with their parents after a few months. After that they tend to go off to join juvenile Magpie colonies elsewhere. Magpies do not migrate. They may move lower in elevation in winter, but they generally stick to the same areas year round. They tend to avoid dense forest or open grassland, preferring the points in between instead.