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Maya and the Magpie

21 December, 2006

I never thought Magpies were intelligent or had a sense of humour, but what happened at the weekend changed my mind.

(for those of you who’ve never seen a magpie, it’s a large bird, the size of a small chicken, kitted out in nifty black-white-plumage.  It has a reputation for stealing anything that is glittery, and for some reason is the subject of a folk rhyme:  one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy … etc. depending on the number of magpies you come across in a single sighting.)

We have a pear tree in the corner of the garden and the trunk branches off into two sections. 

There was a magpie sitting on the top-most branch of the left-hand section.  Maya the Bengal saw the magpie, dashed across the garden and threw herself up the tree. 

She got halfway, and the magpie just sat there watching her.  She was encouraged by its passivity and climbed farther and farther.  Just as she got to within 6 inches of the bird, the magpie twitched its tail and flew to the other section of the tree that was about 3 feet away.  It was just that bit higher that Maya didn’t dare throw herself across the gap.  So Maya just clung onto her branch which in the meantime was swaying and bending double from her weight while the magpie sat not far off, shaking its tail and going “chac-chac-chac” at her. 

I swear the air around Maya was blue with feline imprecations!  Then the magpie decided to end Maya’s misery and with a final derisory ‘chac!” flew off into the neighbour’s apple tree. 

Turns out we’ve got a family of magpies living near by – I counted four, which was good for the superstitious, but not if you’re a Bengal and in need of a pair of wings!

(I only wish I’d had my camera to hand, but it all happened so quickly …)

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