Most people will know that it's supposed to be bad luck to see a solitary magpie.
You can, of course, ward off this bad luck by saluting the bird, while saying, ‘Good morning Mr. Magpie. How’s your wife?’
There are other more obscure superstitions concerning our black and white pal. In Scotland a single magpie near the window of a house was not just bad luck but the sign of impending death; possibly because they were thought to carry a drop of the devil's blood under their tongue. Some believed that the reason the magpie is cursed is because it was the only bird that didn't sing and comfort Jesus when he was crucified on the cross. Another strange belief was that if the bird’s tongue was scratched with the sharp edge of an unmilled silver sixpence, and a drop of human blood was inserted into the wound, the chattering magpie would acquire the gift of speech.