Magpie: not guilty my lord


Magpie: not guilty my lord

This is they bird people love to hate! If you listen to many people you would soon believe that the poor magpie (Pica pica) is the sole reason for the decline in numbers of garden birds. This is, of course, absolute rubbish and these prejudices against the magpie have no basis in science at all. 

The fact is that garden birds populations reflect total populations. If a bird has decreased in numbers across the country in all habitats it will, obviously, be seen less often in gardens! The decline in many bird species populations are usually complex and revolve around loss of suitable breeding territory and problems with food supply.

The magpie is NOT increasing in numbers and is not, therefore, decimating our garden birds. The magpie eats more carrion than live prey and benefits from road casualties such as pheasants, hedgehogs, etc. The magpie is responsible for less losses amongst baby birds than domestic cats and grey squirrels. These facts are based on scientific research done by Sheffield University and supported by RSPB findings. 

Although it looks black and white in colour the magpie in bright sunshine, if seen close up, is a wonderful mixture of iridescent blues and greens - a bit like a mallard's head only generally darker!

The magpie is number 12 in the chart of the most common bird in gardens but that is because they feed on scraps, not other birds. They may not be absolute angels but I believe in Justice for the magpie!


If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 11 months ago


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