Ornithomantic European crow augury by which future events are divined by the number of crows seen at a given time. The custom of counting crows led to the development of divinatory rhymes:
From The Folklore of Birds by Laura Martin:
One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own sel'.
From the Dictionary of Superstitions published by Oxford University Press:
One for sorrow,
two for mirth,
three for a wedding,
four for birth,
five for rich,
six for poor,
Seven for a witch,
I can tell you no more.
Q.station23 asks: "is this related to the English tradition of counting magpies? 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...
A.Yes. One possible explanation why it's crows rather than magpies now is that the crows are winning. They are legion - at least everywhere I've lived - but rare is the magpie. All the more reason why the magpie should have sustained its mystical significance, but humans are funny that way.