For the sake of fairness, biologists from the University of Exeter (the UK) restored the reputation of magpies.
Rumor has it that magpies are thieving. In Rossini’s opera, a magpie stole silver jewelry. British scientists led by Toni Shephard decided to refute the long held belief. The experiment involved eight birds from a rescue center. The biologists exposed the birds to two types of metal screws: color and silver. None of the magpies touched the samples.
The scientists complicated the experiment — they went outside and found wild birds. The biologists exposed them to bits of food mixed with the same silver screws and pieces of foil. At first, the shiny objects distracted the magpies and it took them longer to start eating. After all the food had been eaten, the birds turned their attention to the screws and foil. However, after realizing they were inedible, the birds took no interest in them and threw them aside
The scientists have concluded that magpies are not just uninterested in shiny objects, but even afraid of them.