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RE: Magpie and the Hawk



If the hawk had gotten the magpie, then afterwards the rest of the magpies
would probably have held what is known as a "magpie funeral".  A man at
work told me he witnessed one of these in his backyard.  He was drawn
outside because there were a bunch of magpies making the loudest noise he
had ever heard them make. They repeatedly flew down from his fence, where
they were all lined up, to a dead magpie. Each took its turn pulling and
poking at the dead bird like they were trying to revive it. For those who
haven't heard of this strange behavior, here's a story I stole off
Cornell's site:

"That's sure what Nancy Marsh of Aspen, Colorado, thought she was watching.
After a magpie died in her yard, she observed, "Seven magpies came and
gathered around the dead bird. They were making lots of noise, hopping
around. Every now and then one would pull at a wing or leg on the dead
bird. They took turns doing this. Some would fly to nearby low branches,
still 'talking' and then fly back by the bird. One by one they flew away,
leaving one live bird who stayed on the ground next to the dead bird and
leaned close and squawked several times and then flew away. The incident
lasted about fifteen minutes." This behavior pattern is often observed in
birds of the corvid family. Researchers believe the birds are trying to
understand what happened and learn how to avoid a similar fate. They may
also be trying to revive the dead bird."


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