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Pie in the sky

Frieda Hughes adopts an unfledged orphan bird, regarding him as ‘a magical creature’ – but few others find him so engaging

13 May 2023

9:00 AM

13 May 2023

9:00 AM

George: A Magpie Memoir Frieda Hughes

Profile Books, pp.272, 16.99

With his swashbuckling gait, ominous associations and garrulous demeanour, the magpie is the dandified razor boy of our avifauna and provokes ambivalent feelings (the ‘pie’ part signifies many a mixture). His pilfering reputation has inspired work from Rossini to the prog-rock band Marillion, and in lab tests he’s one of the few creatures brainy enough to recognise his own image in a mirror – even some Marillion fans can’t do that.

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