A web-page (The 12 Birds of Christmas) has this to say re The Eighth Day of Christmas: "... on this day, here be eight Magpies. Magpies are black birds with milky white patches. Magpies are birds full of power and are portents used in fortune-telling. Eight has many different meanings symbolically, but one very important one is a new beginning. Different numbers of magpies can mean different things, 'five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never told,' but eight magpies remind us to put the old behind us as we start afresh. A strong argument could be made for doves or pigeons as alternative maids a-milking, because of their crop milk – a secretion that parent birds regurgitate into the gaping gullets of baby birds. Doves are symbolic of peace and purity, but pigeons are not."
Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
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