Magpies are no trinket thieves
A new study has shown that contrary to folklore, magpies are not attracted to shiny objects and don't routinely steal small trinkets such as jewellery.
According to psychologists at the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, the species is actually frightened of new and unfamiliar objects, rather than attracted to them, thus countering the folklore that the "pilferers of the bird kingdom" are unconditionally attracted to sparkly things and prone to pinching them for their nests, almost as a compulsion.
The lead author of the study, Dr Toni Shephard, said that there was no evidence of an unconditional attraction to shiny objects in magpies, instead, all objects prompted responses indicating neophobia in the birds.
(Posted on 16-08-2014)