Dr. Bekoff, a professor at the University of Colorado, studied magpies and managed to elaborate on this strange phenomenon. Bekoff said the rituals the magpies hold prove that the birds normally seen as aggressive have a compassionate side.
Magpies aren’t unique in this behavior in the animal kingdom. Gorillas, elephants, and dolphins have all been noted to mourn the dead. What magpies typically do when they discover a corpse is first peck at it to make sure it is dead. Then they fly off to find grass and lay it by the corpse.
After that, the magpies will stand by the dead one for a few moments before flying off. It’s pretty bizarre, but it shows that, at the very least, magpies do react to the deaths of others.