Magpies are one of our most familiar birds and the source of much myth and legend – ‘one for sorrow, two for a joy’ is a rhyme that many children learn. Magpies are, in fact, small crows, and are omnivorous, feeding on carrion, invertebrates and chicks and eggs. Sociable birds, they are often seen ‘chattering’ noisily in small groups across many habitats, from gardens to parks, heaths to hedges and in towns too. During the spring, males help the females to build nests by bringing materials which they then arrange. Magpies are famous for collecting all kinds of objects, particularly anything shiny, to decorate the nest.