Magpies don’t like shiny things

By Sarah Zielinski, 10:27 AM August 26, 2014

Magpies deserve our apology. Apparently humans have been unnecessarily maligning the birds for centuries. They actually aren’t attracted to shiny things, and they’re probably not thieves, Toni Shephard and colleagues at the University of Exeter report in the August Animal Cognition.

The birds have a reputation for stealing jewelry and other bright objects. Look in the American Heritage Dictionary and you’ll find a definition of magpie that isn’t for the bird but for “one who compulsively colle...

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