European Magpies

European Magpie

European Magpies are birds found in Europe. They are black and white and are counted among the most intelligent animals. They are very territorial and often form groups in the winter to increase their food gathering. Mates stay together forever until one of them dies, at which point the widow/er will choose another mate, if still of age to raise younglings. Mating takes place in spring with a display of chases and feathers on the male's behalf to attract the females' attention. Nests are preferably built in tall trees. A magpie nest is large and sturdy, with a dome like roof and a concealed entrance. During the winter, the nests are very visible with the lack of leaves. Each bird has an average of five to eight eggs in a hatching. Magpies have only one hatching unless some unfortunate disaster wipes out their previous young'uns. Eggs are laid in April and hatch around three weeks later. Another three weeks later the fledgelings have learned to fly.

A European Magpie Nest

Magpies are very intelligent, perhaps the most intelligent bird. They have episodic memory, meaning they remember the general who/where/what of certain situations. They most certainly remember which human face to trust, which garden has the most worms, and also where they stole that shiny object. Yes, Magpies are very fond of shiny things, such as wedding rings left out in the open, and they are not afraid to take what they want. Their intelligence is further proved by the ability to make tools and use them, something seen done by apes. Also, it has been proven that European Magpies have mirror self-recognition, something very few animals possess. In fact, for a while there, humans believed they were the only ones who had it. Another amazing thing Magpies can do, is they have the potential to imitate other bird's songs, and, to an extent, other noises they hear around them and human voices, like a parrot.

Part of the family close by, eating with an open window.

Magpies are omnivores and eat various fruit, grain, eggs, insects and other small birds, sometimes snatching them in flight, something thought to be found only in birds of prey.
Recently a new family of Magpies has settled in the area. Magpies usually stay around their area, not really much of long distance flyers. They often come to feed from our birdfeeder and hang out around the garden. I have recently been placing oatmeal on my window sill, and they have gotten quite used to the area. I have been slowly progressing my interaction with them, now getting them to feed with the window open. More recently, I have just shown my face, unmoving and without any sound, with the window open. My hope is that they will all (or at least one) be used to me and allow me to hand feed them, allowing for a 'tame' Magpie coming to visit me for food once in a while.

 

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