21 Jan 2017. #4. A conventicle of magpies

0004-magpies004

(Chinagraph, Aquarelle pastels)

About 30 magpies gathered in our back garden this morning. They were continually in motion, jockeying for position, very competitive and noisy. It sounds like a bunch of football rattles being spun.  Incidentally here are all the collective terms of magpies:

a conventicle
a gulp
a mischief
a tidings
a tittering  (not very descriptive of these bully boys)

I wondered if they were returning from abroad, but on googling, I find they don’t migrate. Magpies are sedentary birds and do not move far from where they hatch, but they form communal winter roosts, sometimes a few hundred individuals but more typically a few dozen birds. So it is likely we have a roost nearby and they are visiting our garden for food (I have some fatballs and seed out)  before dispersing each morning.

http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/forums/british-birds/94107-do-magpies-migrate.html

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