Raiding Magpies

 We have some long tailed tits nesting in a hedge in the garden. Their chicks hatched possibly a week ago and the local magpie clocked the frenzied foraging of the parents.  I saw the magpie leave the hedge (via the exit used by the parents).  The magpie  didn’t seem successful (the hedge is a very spiky pyrocantha) and I can still hear the chicks... but the parents haven’t been in or out of the hedge since - although I did see them in a nearby tree.

I am hopeful that the parents haven’t abandoned the nest as they are in nearby trees - but if they don’t show any signs of returning, what should I do? 


  • Sorry about this. There are two scenarios (that have probably already played out). 1) LTTs return to feed 2) Magpie returns to feed.
    Nature can be hard, but scenarios like this happen up and down the country at this time of year. I am guessing from your wording that you fear the 3rd option.....that neither parents nor magpie return, and that chicks starve? That is extremely unlikely IMO. Even if that is the case, removing chicks or nestlings from a nest. i.e. interfering in an active nest, is unlawful despite sometimes good intentions. As soon as humans get involved, one way or another, the outcome for young birds becomes less certain and more high risk.
  • Thank you very much for your quick response. It was option 3 which worried me. The parents are still trying... as is the magpie. It has raided the bush at least twice today.
  • Thanks for the update. Because LTTs usually nest very early, they do run the risk of being visible at least until leaves are fully open. I've not been lucky enough to have nesting LTTs, but suspect many nests are located by predators, but safe due to access issues for them. Fingers crossed the magpie works out its time is better spent looking elsewhere.