They live in climates that lesser birds — less imaginative birds — would ignore. Magpies are urban birds: noisy, incomprehensible. They are not subservient, like pigeons and rock doves. Magpies are intelligent. They work together in mysterious ways.
Magpies are hot lovers.
We think they’re ugly, or perhaps vulgar, because they’ll eat a dead squirrel right in front of everybody. Maybe that’s just a quiet sort of confidence. Oh, you don’t eat dead squirrels? I do. They’re delicious.
When people come here from far away and see a magpie for the first time they always say the same thing: “It’s so beautiful. Those colours, those eyes. What sort of bird is that?”