They’re not called magpies for nothing! These birds are known for their tendency to steal shiny objects and hoard them. In fact, the magpie is a word that comes from the old English word “Magog,” which means thief or pilferer. What’s more, magpies show an amazing ability to recognize other magpies by their facial markings — no easy feat considering they all look alike otherwise! There are some fascinating facts about magpies you may not know (or even be aware of) yet. Read on to find out what these interesting creatures can teach us about ourselves.
1. Magpies are considered one of the most intelligent birds in the world
In a study where magpies were given the opportunity to either steal food or not, they overwhelmingly chose to steal, demonstrating their intelligence and cunning. In another study, magpies were able to remember the facial features of other magpies even after a year had passed. How many other animals are able to recognize each other even years after their initial meeting?
How magpies are able to recognize other magpies might be similar to how humans are able to recognize each other. Humans rely on facial features that are unique from one another, including different shapes of eyes, eyebrows, noses, etc. It’s likely magpies are using the same system.
2. They don’t actually steal shiny objects
While magpies are infamous for their thieving ways, it turns out they don’t actually steal shiny objects. In fact, magpies have a natural preference for blue and green items – not gold or silver!
If magpies do pick up something shiny and bright, like a discarded aluminum can, it’s because the bird is attracted to the light reflecting off of it. They may be thieves but magpies aren’t known to care about material goods.
So if you’re concerned about your safety around magpies remember they’re harmless as long as you don’t carry any flashy valuables with you into their territory!
3. Magpies are monogamous birds
Magpies are monogamous birds that mate for life. As magpies pair up, they build a nest together out of whatever they can find nearby. The female magpie lays 3 to 5 eggs which the male magpie then incubates for 14 days while the female magpie cares for him and feeds him. After about 3 weeks, the eggs hatch and both parents take care of feeding, defending, and teaching their young until they’re ready to fly away on their own. Even after their chicks have left home magpies to stay together as mates or may even return to each other after being apart for some time!
4. Magpies are considered to be a bad omen in some cultures
In the United Kingdom, magpies are considered to be a harbinger of bad news and misfortune. Some believe that if you see one magpie, you should say “one for sorrow” to avert any possible bad luck. In some parts of Europe, magpies are also thought to be able to steal a person’s soul. So the next time you see a magpie, remember that there is more to these interesting creatures than meets the eye!