Below is an excerpt from the internet, adding to my sparse folklore knowledge of the magpie, this by a chance remark from a colleague who stated his wife saluted a lone magpie and issued a greeting. Well we knew he was / is dithering on a delicate edge of sanity but his wife also?

Seems not, she is following an age old superstition that I and her still borderline husband were not aware of !!

Magpie Superstitions

There is an age old rhyme regarding magpie superstitions, brought to the fore in the 1970’s, by the children’s programme named after the birds, which implies that if you see these birds in numbers you will have varying degrees of fortune. The magpie superstitions rhyme goes: "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. " Never been quite sure what to expect if I ever saw eight or more!

The majority of magpie superstitions however, revolve around the lone magpie. There are some curious customs associated with this. It is the most common of the magpie superstitions, and throughout the British Isles it is believed that it is unlucky to look upon a lone magpie and there are some interesting regional beliefs about what you should do to ward off any bad luck. For example: In Scotland and Northern Ireland one should salute the lone magpie; whereas in some parts of England one should wave or doff your hat! Magpie superstitions in Yorkshire suggests that the bird is associated with witchcraft and therefore an ill omen - one should make a sign of a cross or take off your hat in respect to ward off any evil. Another from remote parts of the White Rose County, suggests that an individual should imitate the lone magpie's missing partner - and loudly; although I‘m not sure I can recall what noise one makes! Apparently the magpie has significance overseas as well - in Korea, one of the more popular magpie superstitions, has folk believing that the magpie is a bird of inspirational instinct, which can foretell people that they will have visitors or house guests in the near future. Poem? I found

Magpie #1

Magpies are the Park bench drunks of the bird kingdom; They hang about all day, Screech at each other And everyone else. Nothing to do, Nowhere else to go. They feed from rubbish bins; The mangled remains of Saturday's Discarded donner Is their idea of a Sunday roast. They steal For the sake of it; A piece of foil, A priceless diamond, They're not really bothered, So long as it sparkles. Their nests must be Boudoirs of bling.

2 Responses to “A salute to a Magpie?”

  1. December 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    You need think about it. Despite the emails, the overwhelming evidence showing global warming is happening hasn’t changed.
    “The e-mails do nothing to undermine the very strong scientific consensus . . . that tells us the Earth is warming, that warming is largely a result of human activity,” Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a House committee. She said that the e-mails don’t cover data from NOAA and NASA, whose independent climate records show dramatic warming.

  2. Ian December 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I know magpies are smart birds but I’m not sure they can access the IPCC report !!

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