Blogging Up The Works

Friday, February 03, 2017

Four and Twenty Blackbirds.

This would be an apt title if it wasn't for the fact that there is only one bird involved, it's a magpie and it doesn't end up in a pie.

We look after a house in Pieusse, a village just on the outskirts of Limoux. We do security visits once a month and I was out their earlier this week. There is a resident magpie in the garden. Bloody noisy thing it is, cawing at the top of it's voice, or whatever the noise a magpie makes is called. It particularly likes the fruit of the kaki tree, which we know as persimmon, and you will normally find it there. Anyway, the other day I was walking round the garden when he decided to come and fly down and hop along side me. I'm not great with birds, flappy things that they are, and magpies beaks are a bit of a nasty looking weapon but I retained my composure faced with this six inch predator and as I walked he hopped along side of me. I talked to him and then he cawed at me. I talked again and then it started making a strange noise that then became a few words in French. I picked up bonjour, bonsoir and c'est bien. A bit of repeating and a few other words. So I stopped walking thinking I might be imagining it and he stopped hopping looked at me said a couple more words and then, somewhat bored with the fact I had stopped walking, flew off back to his tree.

To say I was a little surprised would be an understatement. It's not everyday one partakes of a conversation with a feathered friend. I didn't know magpies could mimic humans but a quick google search informed me they can. And this one apparently does. He certainly wasn't scared of me so no doubt he has either heard guests or visitors speaking and learnt the lingo. Which I have to say is somedays better than I think I am doing.


  • One of the Corvidae clan - very clever creatures they are, they recognise human faces, and that is the least of their skills.

    By Blogger Toffeeapple, At 1:38 AM  

  • For me, Magpie lost it's appeal when Susan Stranks left.

    I too was unaware that magpies could speak actual words. We have one that keeps flying into the garden and making a racket.
    Maybe I should try telling it to fuck off.
    In French.

    By Blogger Masher, At 7:11 AM  

  • Birds speaking in tongues? Blimey Charlie, whatever next?

    I did click on your link and became interested in the house. We are looking at possible destinations for this year's family hol. We have been going to Puerto Pollensa in Majorca, but last year we hit peak apartment, and anything else that we do in Pollensa will be a bitter disappointment. We hadn't thought of France, but after reading that, I shall now put the suggestion to the ruling body.

    By Blogger Brennig, At 2:47 PM  

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