Magpies get a bad rap for some reason. Perhaps it's their raspy voice, but it seems a lot of people don't like them, including some who should know better. Even serious bird people sometimes speak of them with contempt, going as far as to protect their peanut butter and suet feeders from them. I love them, go out my way to feed them peanut butter and other goodies in the winter, and feel honored when they visit my feeders along with the chickadees and woodpeckers.They also feed with the ravens-- the ravens let them go in first to test the food, or more likely see if there is a trap, then chase them off. If they want to get food, they have to dart in a grab something quickly when the ravens get spooked, as they typically do every few seconds while feeding. Being jumpy is a necessary part of coexistence with dangerous predators such as wolves, bears and by far the most dangerous predator of all, humans, that ravens rely on for food.
Magpies usually prefer to keep their distance from humans in the North, and are not easily photographed at close range. Being a member of the corvid family (like crows and ravens), they're highly intelligent and very social birds, hanging out in small groups. With their iridescent plumage and long tail, their appearance is striking. Their soft melodious song, though not often heard, is one of the more beautiful in the bird world, rivaling that of any songbird. I didn't realize that until this winter when I heard a wonderful new bird song, and went outside to find a magpie gently cooing an enchanting tune.