About magpies

The Common Magpie is easy to observe, for example when it walks a lawn or a garden square. The swings of his body are quite comical. When she wants to go faster, she jumps on both her legs at the same time.
It is seen searching the ground from the beak to find its prey because the magpie is essentially a predator. Planting in the vegetable garden does not risk much on his part. On the contrary, it helps to eliminate potential pests. On the other hand, we can fear for the broods or broods of small sparrows with whom we like to be surrounded because she knows very well how to spot their nests. This is probably why it is classified as harmful in France and can therefore be pulled like game. However, the talkative magpie only plays the role that nature has assigned to her. It has natural enemies to limit its population, Accipiter for example, hawk and around them. In the Mediterranean region, its broods can be parasitized by a cuckoo, the Cuckoo geai.
We saw above that the talkative magpie enjoyed in the city. More generally, she frequently lives in contact with Man and his activities.

She is both bold and very cautious. It can get very close to homes but remains very suspicious and always on the lookout. A wrong gesture and it’s flight. In this, it recalls other corvids such as the crow, known for their high level of reflection. By gaining height from the ground, she loses some of her fear, which can lead her to nest on top of a tree in a garden, a park, a playground, yet regularly frequented. It is also possible that the urban magpie is less fearful than the country magpie.

The common magpie is accused of being a thief, stealing sighting objects and then hiding them. For me, this is probably a legend, coming from a misinterpretation of observations. The magpie, like all corvids, hides surplus food for days of scarcity. It is enough that one day a quidam saw a magpie hiding something when he had just lost an object to persuade himself that it was his object that she was hiding. Thus legends are born. For his part, Géroudet, the famous ornithologist thinks that the magpie could be attracted to an unusual object in his environment, appropriate it and then hide it as his predatory instinct commands him to do it with prey, or even bring it to the nest as suggested by a comic book from my childhood. It is possible. Tamed corvids in any case show a certain interest in the eyes of their “master”, the only shiny part of the body, and seek to reach them from the beak when they are on the shoulder. We must be wary of it, or rather it was necessary, because the possession of these birds is prohibited by law in France.
The magpie is sedentary throughout its range. The most important movements, from 20 to 30 km at most, are made by young birds looking for vacant territory.


Jacques Julien

French photographer based in Paris specialised in black and white photographs, animal photos, architecture, portraits.