Hello, world! This is the official first post on Geeky Magpie, brought to you by June (an alias easy digested by my English-speaking friends). Let's start by talking about one interesting species of bird - Eurasian magpie (Pica pica genus).
While staying in Prague as an exchange student, I was surprised to see magpies instead of crows, usual residents of my hometown (Riga, capital of Latvia), roaming the streets. While both are from the Corvidae family, magpies are seen as less smart and more of a stealing, nosy type of bird. In many European countries, seeing one is considered bad luck; for example, in England and Scotland, you have to salute a magpie if you see one to ward off evil.
The reputation of these birds started to go bad in 1817 after Gioachino Rossini wrote "La Pie voleuse". In that opera, a servant gets a death sentence after stealing some silverware, but the real culprit turns out to be the master's pet magpie. Other playwrights of that time enjoyed the plot twist, and soon the black-and-white bird became known by the public as a trouble-causing thief.
The truth is, magpies do not show any preference for collecting shiny objects and stealing them from humans. Just as they are not a threat to songbird species, which is another rumor tarnishing their reputation. Moreover, in Asia, where Rossini's play never got popular, the magpie is a sign of good luck - it is even a national symbol of Korea.
All in all, Pica pica is a curious bird that will pick up something interesting to study it, but avoid overly shiny and sparkly objects. I find magpies quite pretty, so I've decided to make one a mascot of my blog. A geeky magpie does not steal or harm anyone, it is an inquisitive soul wishing to share its findings! I hope you, dear reader, will change your opinion about this bird and enjoy this humble collection of nerdy writings.