- from The Saturday Magazine, No. 549, January 23
Tidbits on the life of magpies
"The councils which magpies appear to build together, at particular seasons, commonly called "folkmotes,'' are associated in the minds of many with superstitious and ominous notions. The innocent objects of terror, while meeting together most probably for the purpose of choosing mates, are supposed to be conspiring and clubbing their wits, for the weal or woe of the inhabitants of the neighbouring village. If they are of an even number and carry on their cheerful, noisy chatter, it is supposed to betoken good to old and young—but if there is an odd magpie perched apart from the rest, silent and disconsolate, the reverse of this is apprehended, and mischievous consequences are inevitably expected."