Magpies were originally called pies, the mag was added because of the sound they make. Some also thought they had fairies in their hearts and that witches sometimes rode them. Magpies have been seen gathering around a dead bird seemingly engaging in 'funeral' type behaviour though, of course, this is disputed as anthropomorphism by some, but I'd like to believe that they do, clever birds. Painting is by Tunnicliffe and is in the public domain:
Pie gazed into an eye,
hollowed of life, now just feather
and bone, he'd had an uncle
who'd lost a gawker to a buzzard
and fashioned another from a toy marble,
too big for its socket,
he became a renowned oracle.
But here, Pie saw only his own reflection
peering back, black as godheart,
black as wretchart. For his mag,
a ride for many a witch, he summoned
in ratchet-ratchet a host of witnesses
to his lament and sorrow gathered
about him, funereal, in discord.
Pie stood before the catafalque
to whistlehiss and scratchscreech
an absolution, his bloodtongue committal
of the fallen. How she had charmed the moon -
a cloud-bellied necromancer,
the skies she had mapped: we,
who are given wings and an emerald tail
over our blue dominion.
Pie reeled a little; for death is death
is death, and as common as life,
something both known and unknown.
Her fairyheart departed, the great fire
slipped beyond the iron hills, left
night to glitter its coldstars above him,
the babel mollified and the palaver drifted
into the darkness, and Pie,
though love was graven to every memory,
never spoke again.