One day I came into the kitchen; face covered in the grime of aluminum polishing to show off the custom shiny Tides panel I was working on. My flatmate at the time, Dave Tipper, teased that I looked like a filthy magpie hoarding all the shiny bits of modular gear. For some reason it stuck and we decided to roll with the name because it was just too good and unfortunately very true.
In the course of studying these birds I kind of fell in love - they are considered not only the smartest of birds but also among the most intelligent of any animals. They seem to hand select the sounds they sample and mimic in the same way they select oddities for their hoarde. In fact when you hear a magpie walking around doing a near perfect mimicry of a giggling baby you can begin to understand why there is so much uneasy superstition in the UK around these animals.
It is a common UK superstition to salute a single magpie, say "Hello mr magpie hows the wife and kids?", because a lone magpie is considered a bad omen. This is possibly owing to the fact that magpies mate for life and have been observed holding funeral rites for dead comrades. This of course is tied into a classic nursery rhyme
One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret, Never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird, You must not miss.