Halloween Pie

common magpie France

Crows and ravens have it rough this time of year. Their deep voices, intimidating intelligence, and simple blackness have made them among the most halloweenish of birds.

Another, more colorful corvid has an equally ominous reputation. In eighteenth-century Sweden,

many believe that magpies are the attendants and instruments of the devil, and it is said that when the witches and bloodsucking sorceresses set out for their assemblies, they change themselves into the form of a magpie. And when in August the magpies molt the feathers of their necks, the common people say of this molt that “the magpies have gone to the witches’ assembly, and when they helped the devil carry his hay, the yoke rubbed the feathers from their neck.”

Naughty birds.