Enough’s enough. It’s time for a cull!
Years ago in the UK there’s was a children’s television programme called ‘Magpie’. Essentially it was ITV’s answer to Blue Peter but to my mind wasn’t nearly as good. Yet I’m old enough to remember a time when Magpies were something that one rarely saw on the urban streets of Essex. Way back then they were a lot smaller for a start and enjoyed something a reputation as a bird that kinda stood out from the rest of the flocks. They were said to be very clever and independent with a particular penchant for silver paper or certain luxurious shiny items from your mother’s jewellery box.
Now a resident of Ireland I see dozens of these birds on a daily basis but I can never recall them ever being as big as they appear to be now. In fact as I type this I can see one standing outside my garage door which is bigger than my dog and my dog is an Alsatian! But no way will he venture out into the garden while Maggie is strutting her stuff. And neither will I. Not least because the Magpie’s stabbing beak alone is a weapon that even the Iranians wouldn’t mind getting their mits on.
But whereas I once looked upon them with the wide-eyed fascination of a small boy I now look upon them as winged hyenas. If they could, they’d smile at you, whilst pecking at your puppy or, given human powers for a day, they’d sit next to you on the bus shouting about the bird they copped off with last night. And when it was their turn to get off they’d stamp on your foot as they pinched your shopping.
But there’s no doubting it that today they are, after pigeons, the most vilified birds around. And they’ve only themselves to blame. Honestly anyone with the kind of reputation similar to that of the Magpie would probably have an ASBO slapped on them if they were a teenager.
Now there is an old superstitious saying that one shouldn’t shout at a magpie. Which I never do. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing to throw house bricks in their general direction whenever they turn up and sit on my garden wall looking like leading members of the ornithological Mafia. They’re now so big that I fear that if I fail to salute them I’ll be arrested and winged away to some great human Avery probably somewhere too close to Dartford!!
But I want you to consider this. The next magpie you see prancing around your garden just remember that before you were even out of bed and heading down the stairs for breakfast he’s probably guilty of at least five counts of homicide which as far as I’m concerned makes him a fugitive from justice.
So I’m calling on the government to introduce a bounty of one euro to be placed on the head of all magpies…., along with grey squirrels. And don’t even get me started on those murdering fellows!
12th August 2014.