Magpies warble and chortle a cheerful chorus at dawn and during the day – and sometimes in the middle of the night! They make a lovely sound, however someone who chatters a lot might be called a magpie!

Magpies are a very common Australian bird, familiar in town and country.  They are very territorial and protective of their nests, swooping down to attack anyone who comes too close.  There’s nothing like being caught under a tree with an angry, agitated magpie awaiting your next dash for cover!  As Shane McCoy puts it in his book “Australian Birds”, many have had their hair parted by a swooping magpie! If you antagonise a Magpie or get too close to a nest, you will certainly know about it!

Magpies will collect anything shiny and bright for their nests; in fact a person who collects small objects or is a hoarder might also be nicknamed a magpie!  There must be plenty of nests around containing lost treasures – and trash!  Magpie cannot resist anything small, which reflects light, and as such is a visual metaphor for seeking the light, what is bright and shiny. Magpie can also teach you to let go of material possessions by snatching away your jewellery if left on an accessible windowsill; or show you the value in a discarded shiny bottle top, which is always worth fetching by these avid collectors. Can you see the value in the trivial, as you can in the important?

Another light association for Magpie – they welcome the light of dawn with their melodic, chortling song, which is said to be as beautiful as any songbird. Their music is a pleasure to listen to, and as the sun rises they seem to effortlessly convey the gentle yet powerful nature of the miracle of dawn. Magpies also mimic the sounds of other creatures, as well as the sounds of modern society – a telephone ringing or car horn, for example. They can also learn to speak.

The reason Magpies attack humans goes back to the Dreaming in the Illawarra region; however they do not attack those who are of a bird totem. Before this time, all birds were gentle, however magpies changed their nature to protect a tribe.

When you look at Magpie, visually the white feathers are pushing through the black, as light does the dark. In this same way, inspiration will push through any darkness you may be experiencing. It was the Magpies who brought the first light to the dark, cold world by collectively pushing it away with sticks in their beaks.[1] They can signify bringing light to any troublesome situation or issue, but the answer needs to be considered against other ideas before it is tested. And as they acted in a group, working with others is indicated.  Be open to an insight or understanding after you have seen Magpie.

[1]               Reed, A.W.  “Aboriginal Myths, Legends & Fables.” Mountford, Charles P. “The Dreamtime.”