Birds of superstition

Bill Oddie is in the city of the Magpies: Newcastle United Football Club, of course. And city of real magpies too. Superstitions about magpies go back a long way. They were cursed by God apparently for not wearing all black at the crucifixion. I mean, hardly fair is it? Then throughout the 19th and indeed the 20th century they were slaughtered in thousands by gamekeepers. And yet, they’re doing pretty well now. Bill personally is rather glad, but he gets more letters about magpies than anything else. People are always saying ‘I’m getting fewer songbirds in my garden and I’m seeing more magpies. So, surely it must be the magpies’ fault.’ The RSPB has done several studies and surveys and in the areas where the magpies are increasing so are the songbirds. Yes, magpies do take eggs, they do take chicks, but they're only a small part of their diet. if you want to know the biggest bird chomper of them all - it’s domesticated and it rhymes with rats. Bill is always being sent photographs of the family cat watching one of my programmes, looking up at it, licking its lips. Because, be honest, to the cat it’s like a cooking programme, isn’t it? So don’t blame the magpies!

Release date: 06 Jun 2010

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2 minutes


Role Contributor
PresenterBill Oddie
Camera OperatorRichard North
Camera OperatorScott Tibbles
Sound EngineerChris Watson
ProducerStephen Moss

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