The magpies’ reputation as a predator, eating other birds' eggs and their young, along with their challenging, almost arrogant attitude, has won them few friends. But magpies are beautiful striking birds.
One day walking in Big Wood I could hear a magpie that sounded like it was in distress. I went towards the sound and could see the bird hopping around the woodland floor, screeching as if it was in great pain. My first thought was that it was injured, but when I got closer I could see a second magpie lying on the ground, obviously dead. The partner bond in corvids is extremely strong and magpies often mate for life. This magpie was grieving for his lost mate.
The magpie doesn't have a particularly good image when it comes to compassion but they do have a tender side.
Magpies, like crows and ravens, are viewed as evil in British folklore. The negative connotations attached to magpies can be traced as far back as Shakespeare's time, when their "chattering" was complained about. It was believed they were the only bird not to go on the ark with Noah, preferring to sit outside "jabbering over the drowning world".
Much of the magpies unpopularity comes from their reputation for killing baby birds and eating other birds eggs. But nature is cruel and that is how Corvids behave, along with Grey Squirrels, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and other wild creatures (and domestic cats).
They are just playing their role in nature's big picture.