Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Originally uploaded by Theorris

For Counterintuitive.

Magpies are one of my favorite birds. Sure I like eagles and robins and pine finches and whatnot, but the western magpie is an awesomely cool native bird*. Unlike others, I like their interesting sounds and their propensity to dive-bomb any threat to their nest--cat--dog--human--volkswagen.

I once had a colleague decry the horrible nature of magpies (not you Counterintuitive). I had to restrain myself from laying into her and her rather parochial views of nature.

Apparently you can train magpies to talk, if you are heartless enough to remove them from the wild (which is our suburban/urban/rural environment.)

*The western magpie differs from the eastern magpie (or European magpie, I think.) I am not completely sure that they are native to the western North American continent, but I think they are.

Update: The American Magpie (Pica hudsonia) is indeed an American native. It has been in the West of the United States for around 18,000 years. Somehow two-bits a head seems an awfully weak price for such an ancient and stately bird.


  1. I have to say that's a beautiful photo--makes me almost like magpies. And I do like the *idea* of appreciating the less trumped up animals. I do; I really do. Still, can't quite get over my annoyance at their sound--it just grates on me when I'm trying to work. But gotta appreciate their spunk; they are fearless.

  2. Weren't Heckle and Jekle magpies? I loved their cartoons.

  3. Indeed a beautiful picture.

    The scolding of their voices is funny, startling, and (it must be said) it can be a little maddening when they're in a zone.

    I like this post.