Monday, July 15, 2013

Book of Nostaligia Item #2 - Magpies

Our neighborhood in Pittsburgh was a dressed-down place  (I mean that in the most affectionate way.) Appropriately, the creatures that scampered  around the neighborhood were dressed-down creatures.  The squirrels were gray.  The sparrows were brown.  Even the turkeys, who seemed full of the proud ferocity of their dinosaur ancestors, kept their dress to a subdued palette of earth tones.
When we moved to the Paris suburb, I expected to see a difference in dress.  I didn't expect that even the local fauna would live up to the elevated fashion standards.

Meet the magpie, one of the most visible and ubiquitous birds in our area.  A trim, intelligent corvid, magpies dress in ever-elegant black and white, with splashes of iridescent blue to keep it jaunty.  They're social birds, so you often see them in groups of two or three.  I love sighting these dapper little fellows, and hearing them chatter from the trees in the garden.

I was informed by my English friend that there's a superstition about Magpies.  The number of birds you see at a time tells you your fate:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

I've been looking around for groups of magpies, and so far, I've been seeing be groups of three at most---so maybe we're due for another girl!

I haven't caught any good pictures of them, so I'll  leave you with a second magpie (because we want joy) from the world of art.

My favorite Monet

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