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I hate Magpies, and

so should you

Colten Reid, The Magpie, Oct 14, 2022

I don’t like Magpies. I’ve never shot one with a BB gun or anything, but I don’t like them. I think if a magpie could understand English and if a magpie could get over itself for a second, and I could get a word in… yeah, I’d have some shade to throw at it. I’ve been told it can’t, and there isn’t a device that can make that happen yet. Instead, I’m writing this myriad of words aimed at the black-billed magpie into a publication “read” by people. 

Quick history lesson. Black-billed Magpies are corvids, which means they’re grouped into the same family as ravens, crows, and jays. All of which are cooler than the black-billed magpie. The magpie’s ancestry can be traced back to Eurasia, but eventually, they ended up in Korea. When that population found itself isolated, they crossed the Bering land bridge and took over North America. 

When black-billed Magpies got here, they hooked up with herds of bison and fed off the corpses, tics, and insects that lived on them. No one invites these things. They just show up, let themselves in, and start messing around with whatever they like. So, they did that for a while, but after that food source died out, they were forced elsewhere. Magpies left their original stomping grounds in search of food, realized that cattle also have tics, and started forcing themselves upon said cattle. 

Eventually, the Magpies realized people are sort of like tics, too, had a quick board meeting and decided to primarily inhabit human cities. That’s how we became stuck with black-billed Magpies, and now black-billed Magpies can be found in most suburban environments throughout Canada. They’re non-migratory and stretch across Canada and into the rocky mountain states. They don’t venture into California, though. California has its own invasive magpie loser in the yellow-billed magpie, and they don’t dig the black-billed magpie. 

Twenty species of Magpies are known worldwide, but the only one inhabiting Canada is the black-billed magpie. So my beef is with them. I don’t know the Australian Magpies; I’m sure they have their own thing going on. First off – I think Magpies have an agreement with Pigeons; Pigeons get downtown, Magpies get suburbia, and that maintains some sort of bird peace between the two (email me if you want to talk more about a Pigeon coup). 

Secondly, and every other number that follows, I would never trust someone that wore a permanent tuxedo, and I won’t lessen my weariness for these weirdo birds. I’m in support of the Black-Billed Magpies platform concerning insects and pests, but we don’t agree on the dietary significance when it comes to hatchlings, and baby birds. Flying into nests, looking all dapper, only to start cannibalizing baby birds and hatchlings – that’s one way to create a complex. 

Regardless of the propensity for it to happen being on the low end since humans feed magpies plenty. We are walking food, garbage, and flesh dispensers – it’s inconsiderate. Mid-20th-century books often depicted the magpie as a vicious, tuxedo-wearing lunatic, blood-lusting after pets and committing heinous crimes against the animals of the day. That is the vision I trust and maintain. 

The word count requirement on this article requires me to conclude this or I would continue to regale you on the misgivings of magpies. I’ll leave you with this. Look in their eyes. They’re smart. I’m assuming black-billed Magpies aren’t as clever as their brothers, but they can still recognize themselves in the mirror. Anything that can recognize itself in the mirror probably knows it’s also a bit of an asshole, no? 

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