One summer day, I was indoors writing while my aging cat Tyger lounged on the deck, soaking up the sun. All was well with the world until I heard a raucous cawing.
I ran to the window, convinced something terrible was happening. A black and white magpie perched on the deck railing, screeching at Tyger. The poor cat crouched in a corner, trying to hide. She was a small cat. The bird was nearly as large as her. I opened the screen door and the bird flew away. Tyger crept inside and observed nature from behind the screen door for the rest of the day.
At work, a pair of magpies have built a nest in the parking lot (photo below). Employees are warned to roll car windows up, or the magpies will fly inside your vehicle and tear up the interior hunting for food.
A magpie soars across the cover of my novel. The image is pulled from a scene in the story. Why did I include a magpie in my murder mystery?
Besides the fact that I see magpies almost daily, they fit in well with my story because they are common in Colorado. They are a bird of the American West. While they are similar to crows in size and appearance, magpies are more handsome in their black and white tuxedos. Like crows, they collect shiny objects. Magpies are smart - a perfect bird to get caught up in a mystery.
You can learn more about magpies at:
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