August 14th   Leave a comment

People are mostly negative about magpies. They are too common, too crafty, too opportunistic. They thrive on chaos and pillage the other birds around them. Altogether too much like us for comfort. The more successful a species, the less we seem to like it. Better a panda, barely able to reproduce without help than a fox that will exploit any opportunity we present to them, or worse still compete with us. It’s not really fair: the few wildlife winners around us get little appreciation. Magpies are very beautiful birds: they’d be as popular as puffins if they were endangered. They are intensely social and very loyal to their mate and their kin, taking risks and watching out for each other. As socially interesting as meerkats, probably more intelligent, and they would never try to sell you insurance. The world would be a much duller place without magpies.

A Crail magpie in need of appreciation

Although almost all the swifts went at the end of last week, a pair has remained around the High Street, chasing and screaming around the old bank. They seem like a courting couple. I wish they were individually recognisable so that next May I could know that it is the same pair going into the roof of the bank, probably breeding for the first time, but with the difficult business of getting to know each other dealt with now, when they have plenty of time. It’s a nice swift coda to soften the blow of their major departure last week.

Posted August 14, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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