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
Mr & Mrs Magpie
Every spring when the weather becomes warmer
from our back garden comes this familiar singer.
Its happened for the last six years or more
a magpie comes knocking on our gardens back door.
She's alarmingly large compared to normal English birds
like the sparrow, speckled starling, tits or blackbirds.
Magpies have wonderful plumage of black and white
zebra of the skies but unlike zebras, have wings for flight.
I wonder if Mrs Magpie supports Newcastle's team
they are as rowdy as any Geordie supporter I've ever seen.
Chirping loud with a very repetitive unrelenting song
magpies when hungry will sing persistently all day long.
A proper attention seeker is our friendly magpie madam
this feathered bird, is fearless and totally awesome.
Mr Magpie is shy, he sits on the fence quietly observing
black beady eyes forever moving, seeking and searching.
He is twitchy, nervous, more wary than his Geordie wife
in this family who wears the trousers, the trouble and strife.
Avian duo made sure we fell for their charming manner
came a calling twice a day singing songs for their supper.
feeding them bread and titbits of nuts or seeds
woe betide us if we ignored their malnourished pleas.
Mrs Magpie would brazenly flap and hop into our kitchen
her audacious shouts of "Hello, its time for luncheon."
I watched them so busy flying hither and thither
building a nesting home for the soon to be mother.
Black and white family expanded, now a boisterous seven
magpie chicks, full of adventure, black and white mayhem.
All through summer we helped poor dad feed his family
oh my, them magpie chicks grew so amazingly quickly.
Then one quiet and rather chilly pre winters morning
our magpies flew away without a goodbye warning.
As most birds do, they spend their winters migrating
needing warmer climates for some magpie romancing.
We missed our new friends them cold frosty days
missed their squawking and funny flying games.
As with all winters the cold days passed through
spring showed up with crocuses and bells of blue.
One warm spring morning, the back door askew
we heard a noisy singsong refrain, a real hullabaloo.
Squawks, cheeps and chirps, as loud as can be
emanating from the back garden, we rushed to see.
There on the fence in black and white perfusion
perched Mr and Mrs Magpie and their younger generation.
The five now grown children had partners of their own
they had come to roost right next to our home.
They sat there shouting each competing for attention
for want of food from our magpie friendly habitation.
Its been six years since we met the black and white couple
each spring they come back and there numbers have doubled.
You do not need to be a genius mathematician
to work out multiplication of magpie regeneration.
This year as spring is upon us, I know I will spy.
The gathering of lovely black and white magpie.
By Tracey Owen
copyright march 2012