Steve Bryant, age 11, of Helena, Mt., for his quesion:
HOW LONG DOES THE MAGPIE LIVE?
The magpie is a bird that belongs to the same family as crows and jays. it lives in western North America from Mexico to Alaska and has a life expectancy of about 12 years.
The magpie is a noisy, aggressive bird that has thievish habits. It will eat almost all kinds of food, including the eggs and young of other birds. The birds travel in groups and are noisy and quarrrelsome.
The magpie will build a bulky nest that is domed over with an opening in the side. The bird usually places its nest in thorny bushes for added protection. The female lays from five to 10 grayish white eggs spotted with brown and tan.
Magpies delight in imitating other birds' notes. They can be tamed and taught to speak simple syllables.
The yellow billed magpie lives only in California. The common magpie has a black bill. Other kinds of magpies live in Europe and Asia.
Some superstitious people consider it a bad omen if a magpie comes to live near the home.