Driving around Ireland we noticed large black and white birds that seemed to be everywhere. Once while a friend was driving us, Tom asked what it was. "Oh, those magpies!" the friend replied, and he counted them whenever they flew by. He explained that there is a poem that tells you that seeing one by itself was bad luck. Of course, after that we started counting them, and wouldn't you know it. Half the time we saw a lone bird. But no worries, as soon as we saw another one we added it to the total, never admitting we saw one by itself. ;-)
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 that's best to miss.