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The Bullfinch
Look at the bright colours of this beautiful little bird: y...

The Flamingo
Is not this a beautiful bird, though rather singular in its...

The Swan
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The Kestrel
This picture represents the kestrel, one of the smallest an...

The Albatross
This is the largest of all sea-birds, and you are not very ...

The Eagle
The Eagle is often called the King of Birds, and therefore ...

The Duck
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The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...

The Robin Redbreast
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The Quail
The quail is the smallest of the poultry tribe, and is a pr...


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[illustration: The Goose]
Amongst the Romans this bird was held sacred to Juno, their s...

The Magpie
The Magpie is a very pretty and cunning bird. It is easy to...

The Pheasant
This beautiful bird comes originally from the East, and tak...

The Lapwing
This little bird which is often called the Pewit, from its ...

The Goose
Have you not often heard people say "as silly as a goose"? ...

The Owl
This solemn looking bird is seldom to be seen by day. It is...

The Quail
The quail is the smallest of the poultry tribe, and is a pr...

The Robin Redbreast
Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bir...

The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...

The Duck
There is so much that is interesting to tell you about the ...



The Magpie








The Magpie is a very pretty and cunning bird. It is easy to teach it to
speak, and it may be rendered very tame. Where high trees abound, the
magpie chooses the very highest and most difficult to climb for its
nest. But otherwise, when secure of not being injured, it will often
build in low bushes round about houses. This is particularly the case in
Norway and Sweden, where an idea prevails that it is unlucky to kill
them.

An interesting account is given by a gentleman of a pair of magpies that
built for several successive years in a gooseberry bush near a house in
Scotland, where there were no trees for a considerable distance. In
order to secure themselves from cats, &c., they brought briars and
thorns in quantities all round the bush, and pulled rough prickly sticks
so closely and in such numbers in amongst the branches, that even a man
would have found the greatest difficulty in getting at their soft warm
little abode within. The barrier all round was more than a foot thick.
They were kindly protected by the family to whom the garden belonged,
but one day the hen magpie was ungrateful enough to seize a little
chicken, which she carried up to the top of the house to eat; the poor
little thing screamed loudly. But the hen, who can be brave enough when
her young are in danger, hearing the cry, flew to the rescue, and soon
obtained possession of her chick, which she brought safely down in her
beak; nor did it utter one cry then, though I daresay mamma pinched it
sadly. I think I can find you one more pleasing story of the magpie.
Some boys once took a raven's nest and put it in a waggon in a
cart-shed. A magpie, whose nest they had also plundered, hearing the
young birds cry, came to them with food, and continued to supply the
little ravens until they were given away by the boys.

In Sweden, as I said before, neither the magpie nor its eggs are ever
touched, whilst Mr. Hewitson, writing of Norway, says: "The magpie is
one of the most abundant, as well as the most interesting of the
Norwegian birds; noted for its sly, cunning habits here, its altered
demeanour there is the more remarkable. It is upon the most familiar
terms with the inhabitants, picking close about their doors, and
sometimes walking inside their houses. It abounds in the town of
Drontheim, making its nest upon the churches and warehouses. We saw as
many as a dozen of them at one time seated upon the gravestones in the
churchyard. Few farm-houses are without several of them breeding under
the eaves, their nest supported by the spout. In some trees close to
houses their nests were several feet in depth, the accumulation of years
of undisturbed and quiet possession."





Next: The Pheasant

Previous: [illustration: The Goose]



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