Monday, 18 February 2019


Above is the February page from An Illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewis. Instead of using it for the 1st of the month post I decided to find out more about magpie folklore for a separate post, but apart from the well known rhyme for spotting the number of birds seen, all I could find in my books was just one country saying  for weather......

         Magpies flying three or four together and uttering harsh cries predict windy weather.

and one for fishermen

For anglers in spring it is always unlucky to see single magpies; but two may always be regarded as a favourable omen. The reason is, that in cold and stormy spring weather one magpie alone leaves the nest in search of food, the other remaining sitting with eggs or the young ones; but two go out together only when the weather is mild and warm, which is favourable for fishing.

The magpie rhyme that I know must be the one from from the children's TV programme  back in the 1970's

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 
Because in my book they are different

One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth

One sign of anger
Two, sign of mirth
Three sign of wedding day
Four sign of death
Five sign of sorrow
Six sign of joy
Seven sign of maid
Eight sign of boy. 

Growing up in the country there is one thing I do know about magpies.......... they are pests, taking the eggs and even the chicks of other birds. There are certainly more around now than in the past and it's rare to drive out anywhere in the country without seeing one or more.
There's more about magpies and superstition HERE and the birds themselves HERE

Back Tomorrow


  1. That’s interesting about the different rhymes, Sue. We live in town and are plagued by magpies. They are such loud bullies and it’s the one bird call that sets my teeth on edge.

  2. It is unlucky to see one only. One must always see two.

  3. Great post Sue, I have always been interested in superstition and folklore.
    I salute the Magpie, and a day before I gave birth I saw 8 and had a boy.

  4. Lovely song about magpies <A HREF="
    >here</A>, which was used in the wonderful TV series <I>Detectorists</I>. I really dislike magpies!

    1. Sorry, link didn't work as planned so I'll do it the easy way.

  5. We have eight flock into our garden! The last rhyme - sign of a boy - must be right in our case - my elder daughter has just had a little baby boy - first in the family for years.

  6. It is ages since I saw a magpie but we used to have several pairs which nested in the trees around the farm.

  7. We often get 1 or 2 magpies round here....they don't stick around long though, as the other birds all gang up together and mob them.

  8. I can't abide magpies. The two that come into our garden are enormous. They frighten the life out me...bloomin' great bullies.

  9. There are magpies around but rare visitors to the garden except at nesting time.... I do not like them.

  10. Oh, dear, they are not popular, are they! As for taking the chicks of other birds, they are not alone, I saw a sparrow take a family of young blue tits, a couple of years ago. :(

  11. I haven't seen a magpie since our move and yet in Lincolnshire I saw them all the time.

  12. We don't have them in our part of the U.S., but I've heard of them. I read a little about them on the internet, and it seems they are considered the most intelligent of birds. Guess it must be true that brains aren't everything! They are a striking looking bird though.

  13. No Magpies here, but if we travel a bit further north we see lots of them.

    God bless.

  14. Here in Oz we have a different magpie but the first poem is the one I know and I am 80 this year, I think it goes back far longer than that.

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