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Neighbour feeding magpies.

(58 Posts)
Washerwoman Sun 28-Jul-19 16:55:47

A nearby neighbour who I have only talked to briefly since we moved in a few years ago was out gardening and we had a good long chat.She seemed lovely and we got chatting about our gardens and wildlife.We have a much larger garden bordered by mature trees and the last couple of years magpie numbers have exploded.They nest behind our garden,are very noisy and predate the songbirds nests.The poor blackbird has had two clutches in our log shed wiped out.We find shattered eggs frequently around the garden.And I actually saw a magpie pecking to death a female blackbird.It was horrendous. They are increasingly bold coming right up to our back door as our very elderly cat likes to eat on the doorstep.I bring his dish straight in,and fear for the cat they are so voracious!
Now I know they are only doing what magpies do,and I would never harm them.However this neighbour told me very proudly that every day she feeds the 'lovely' magpies.I just wish she wouldn't. Apparently their numbers are increasing anyway due to the increasingly busy roads and roadkill.It is the songbirds that need help more than ever,and I feed them in feeders that as much as possible are specifically for them.
I can't stop her feeding them,but do feel like politely pointing out she is not doing the local birds in general any favours as it's probably boosting their numbers.Would I be out of order making a comment ?

elizasnan Sun 28-Jul-19 17:08:24

OH DEAR. My mum fed the lovely heron gulls. They then nested on the roof in the crook of her chimney. Then dive bombed everybody for food ! She wouldn't be told

Elegran Sun 28-Jul-19 17:14:18

No, you would be right in order! Maybe she doesn't know that magpies kill and eat baby birds, steal and eat eggs and even, as you have seen, attack and kill grown blackbirds. If no-one tells her, she will never know. But you may find she doesn't want to know that about the lovely magpies, and you may have to be tactful - maybe on the lines that they are handsome and magnificent creatures, but so are tigers and sharks and it isn't a good idea to try feeding those at your back door.

Did you tell her about the two lost clutches of blackbird eggs? Does she like the sound of the blackbirds in the early morning, singing to the dawn? Of the robins and bluetits and great-tits and wrens, the chaffinches and goldcrests?

Does she have a bird-feeder? If she hasn't could you find some excuse to buy her one as a present and get her interested in encouraging the songbirds - that might make her less keen to feed the predators. Perhaps you "have a spare one that you are not using" and thought she might like to have it?

mosaicwarts Sun 28-Jul-19 17:16:20

Difficult. If you see her again you could say you are upset both blackbird nests have been predated on by magpies - she might not be aware they are predatory.

We don't have that many magpies in Northumberland, they are in competition with so many crows as well as the kestrels and sparrowhawks. It is extremely upsetting to see magpies and crows with their kill .. and at the beach the seagulls mobbing the herons. I was upset to see a magpie flying past yesterday with a yellow hammer in its beak. Nature is very cruel.

vena11 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:53:15

Just watched a magpie this morning facing up to a cat on the top of our fence, it must have a nest near, magpie won I have never seen this before.

Washerwoman Sun 28-Jul-19 18:21:12

They do seem to be getting bolder.As I said I could never harm them,just wish there weren't so many.I fear her feeding them is tipping the balance.
I was going to go round today but have decided to keep an eye out for her and next time I get chance to chat subtly tell her how much damage they have done this breeding season,and that I hope they move on to other territories as the juveniles mature for the sake of the other birds.

Fennel Sun 28-Jul-19 18:29:01

vena I've seen magpies terrorising a cat.
In some parts of Europe magpies are regarded as pests, like rats, and can be killed/culled.
We have bird feeders in our little back garden and so far the main bullies are pigeons. If the magpies start to invade there would be war on!

Sussexborn Sun 28-Jul-19 18:31:41

We have loads of magpies here and they are a dreadful menace. OH says they used to be culled but people thought it was cruel. Our ex neighbour used to put food out for them on a table that was up against the joint fence. They would dive bomb over my washing line leaving much of it covered in bird poo. Asked her politely if she could feed them further up the garden but apparently that wasn’t possible. In the end we put up a much higher fence and fortunately they moved not long after.

KatyK Sun 28-Jul-19 18:34:16

Our neighbour used to feed the pigeons. Someone complained to the council as it was attracting rats, as she was leaving bread out at all hours. She was told to stop.

Washerwoman Sun 28-Jul-19 18:47:30

We have a lot of pigeons too.But Wood pigeons and I can forgive them pooping on my patio for the gentle coo coo sound ,and the fact they don't attack the other birds.I don't specifically feed them but they hoover up the bits below the feeders.Indeed there have been several pigeon massacres by the amount of feathers we find.Again the magpies I fear.

SalsaQueen Sun 28-Jul-19 18:54:00

I might be missing something here, but if the neighbour feeds the birds, (as so I), the food is for ANY bird that goes into the garden - so should she (all of us who feed the birds) not leave any food out at all?

bikergran Sun 28-Jul-19 19:02:23

Across the back of my house..the opposite neighbour has a security light.
The little house martins build there nests just above the light.

Once the babies hatch the magpies just sit on the security light and take there pick. It not pleasant. But the house martins still nest there every year.

Washerwoman Sun 28-Jul-19 19:05:13

Yes I'm a keen bird feeder.But I have actual feeders and for the ground feeders I sprinkle a mix around the edge of the hedge and wherever possible give them a little often.Of course all birds can get it,but this neighbour is actively encouraging the magpies in with mealworms etc at a regular time, and as very smart birds of course they come.Lots of them.

Elegran Sun 28-Jul-19 19:08:45

SalsaQueen It is possible to get squirrel-proof feeders, which are also more difficult for large birds like magpies and pigons to get their heads and shoulders into, while the smaller ones can slip completely through the bars. These mean that the smaller birds can feed reasonably safely. The bigger ones won't starve - they will get plenty from what is spilt on the ground.

Minniemoo Sun 28-Jul-19 19:10:54

I feed the birds. And foxes. And hedgehogs. We get the odd magpie. I feed them all the usual stuff but mealworms are definitely a favourite with birds both big and small. I suppose we either feed the birds or we don't. And I like to feed them so if the odd magpie muscles in I'll try to shoo away but I'd not stop feeding the birds.

tidyskatemum Sun 28-Jul-19 19:22:16

I like to think that if the magpie comes for some of the food I put out in the garden it isn’t eating another bird’s babies. I agree that there are far too many of them these days but according to the RSPB “ research indicates that magpies do not pose a conservation problem to garden birds” Mmmmm.........

EllanVannin Sun 28-Jul-19 19:33:25

My cats scare the magpies off when they land on the lawn-----probably because my 3 cats are the same colour, black and white and there's a bit of jealous rivalry going on, hahaha. They never catch them though.
If a seagull happens to land, the cats hide behind the patio curtains, so brave !

The crows and their noise are a nuisance here at times you can't hear yourself speak..

BradfordLass72 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:41:30

What is the Local Council stance on magpies, in view of their increase and destructive habits?

Maybe they have a programme of shooting them if they are regarded as pests.

SalsaQueen Sun 28-Jul-19 21:07:22

Elegranthanks. I like to feed the quirrels too grin. I think they all need to be fed. We get mainly wood pigeons, and the greedy sods eat most of the food. We don't get many magpies at all, but next-door's cat chases them. (My gentle old cat doesn't bother them)

SalsaQueen Sun 28-Jul-19 21:07:36


Elegran Sun 28-Jul-19 21:17:08

I like the name quirrels. Do quirrels quarrel? One sits on my garage roof and swears at me if I open the back door unexpectedly, I think he would be a quarrelsome quirrel.

paddyann Sun 28-Jul-19 21:50:23

Magpies do whats natural to them ,just as cats catch mice or birds and foxes eat smaller animals ..its NATURE .I putfood out for birds and a fox who has cubs ,if the magpies get to it first then thats their good luck.I wont be shooting them any day soon

gillybob Sun 28-Jul-19 22:19:11

We are currently nurturing a blackbird family . They have 2 nests (which I find a bit odd) one is deep in our bay tree and one is in a huge clematis 3 doors down . They are going too and fro between each and I am providing a bird table full of food for them (as per RSPB guidelines) the trouble is I can’t seem to keep it stocked as obviously there are other bird taking full advantage including wood pigeons and the dreaded magpies.

BradfordLass72 Mon 29-Jul-19 06:53:20

My dear Opthalmologist is called Dr Squirrel.

He's been trying to save my sight now for 10 years, so we're on first name terms and no, it's not Nutkin but David.

crystaltipps Mon 29-Jul-19 07:02:07

We have loads of ring necked parakeets which squawk really loudly and do get their heads in the small bird feeders. They strip any fruit trees they can get near. We have a lot of pigeons, crows, and magpies too, and lots of small birds. I’m hoping they balance each other out.