Magpies attacking blackbird and nest

A blackbird has a nest in some honeysuckle, very close to my back door. The eggs hatched on 29th June and the chicks are being well-fed by their mother BUT today there was an almighty commotion and when I looked out, a magpie was swooping down and chased the mother from the nest. There are a pair of magpies which I sometimes see on the roofs of houses opposite but I don't know where they nest. Is there anything that I can do to stop this from happening again? Is it likely that the magpie will try and take the chicks? The nest is not particularly well-protected, ie not deep in any foliage. Any advice would be very welcome!

  • Hi Spursgirl,So sorry but,

    The simple answer is yes they will take the chicks if they can get to the nest.In your position i would attempt to scare the Magpies away, but sadly,easier said than done.

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Hi Spursgirl, and welcome to the RSPB Forum.  Enjoy yourself here

    I would say there is nothing you can do as nature does what it is intended and it will not change, sadly

    You can only hope that the Magpies find some other foodstuff elsewhere and take their attention away from the Blackbird nest

    If you are attracting garden birds to your feeders try to deter larger birds such as Magpies with gadgets over the feeder holes so foodstuffs are not so available to the Magpies - but to smaller birds up to Blackbird size.  Maybe it is that you are attracting the Magpies to your garden by a mistake due to feeding practices.

    You only have to keep your fingers crossed to the success of the breeding Blackbirds now

    Make sure that you leave the Honeysuckle well alone and so it is bushy, so the Blackbird nest is sheltered from other birds

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Thanks for such swift replies! I haven't got any feeders in my garden(which is only small) as up until recently I had a cat and also the squirrels have destroyed feeders previously. The problem is that where the Blackbird built her nest is fairly open. I could tie in some tendrils to give some greater protection but have been wary of doing so in case I disturbed the feeding mother. Have put neighbours on stand-by to chase away magpies as well!

  • In reply to spursgirl:

    It really wouldn't matter if you had feeders or not.Magpies search gardens and back yards etc etc etc anyway throughout the breeding season.It appears the Magpies know the nest is there so apart from chasing them i can't see anything else you can do.I have lost many chicks to Magpies over the years and unfortunately, the Blackbird never seems to learn.This year they nested in our conifer and it was quite a neat nest however,the Magpie took an egg and that was it.Prior to this year it was Chicks.I don't even feed the birds out back but the Magpies are still searching daily.When mum is out of the nest you could attempt to give more protection if it doesn't take too much time but that's it i am afraid, sorry.

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • could be a old nylon sheet tied somewhere relatively close may keep the magpie away but always the risk of upsetting the blackbird but our blackbirds would not worry.Almost certainly unless you take some action the magpies will take all the chicks.There are far too many magpies and are horrific killers of smaller birds particularly nestlings. 

  • In reply to Sooty:

    Hi - magpies can be difficult to stop, once they know where nests are, but do remember this is part of their natural behaviour and birds' nests have been raided by other birds for millenia.

    The truth is that nests are raided by birds as a matter of course each breeding season, and this has occurred since birds first nested. As well as magpies and other corvids, woodpeckers commonly take eggs and young of other birds (not to mention squirrels, rats, cats, stoats, mink and other predatory mammals). Even blackbirds themselves are known to take the young of smaller birds than themselves to feed to their own young.

     

    This is going on through the breeding season in hedges, shrubs and woodland up and down the country and will continue to do so. It is only because we are attracting birds more frequently to our gardens to nest that we are noticing it first-hand and therefore it seems logical to think that this is the answer to falling bird populations.

     

    There are many factors causing the decline of songbirds, most notably a lack of suitable habitats. A good habitat will provide cover and shelter and will also supply food all year round, but particularly in the breeding season. Unfortunately, with continued urban spread and development these habitats are becoming smaller and smaller. This in turn drives more birds to our remaining gardens where many are forced to live their lives, and this includes the completely normal and natural occurrence of predation.  

     

    Not all species are declining (e.g. chaffinch, blackcap), even though magpies are not selective in their predation. Some species, such as tree sparrow and starling, have suffered declines despite being protected from magpie predation by nesting in holes.

    However, measures can be taken to reduce the predation of nests by other birds, using wire mesh netting, of varying dimensions depending on the birds you are trying to prevent - you can find full information on how to go about this on our main website

    Good luck!

     

    Help swifts by letting us know what they're up to - fill in the 2010 survey

  • In reply to LRB:

    Yip totally agree but on this ocassion it was a Magpie the poster was talking about.Hence my post.

     

     

    Liz R said:

    Hi - magpies can be difficult to stop, once they know where nests are, but do remember this is part of their natural behaviour and birds' nests have been raided by other birds for millenia.

    The truth is that nests are raided by birds as a matter of course each breeding season, and this has occurred since birds first nested. As well as magpies and other corvids, woodpeckers commonly take eggs and young of other birds (not to mention squirrels, rats, cats, stoats, mink and other predatory mammals). Even blackbirds themselves are known to take the young of smaller birds than themselves to feed to their own young.
     
    This is going on through the breeding season in hedges, shrubs and woodland up and down the country and will continue to do so. It is only because we are attracting birds more frequently to our gardens to nest that we are noticing it first-hand and therefore it seems logical to think that this is the answer to falling bird populations.
     
    There are many factors causing the decline of songbirds, most notably a lack of suitable habitats. A good habitat will provide cover and shelter and will also supply food all year round, but particularly in the breeding season. Unfortunately, with continued urban spread and development these habitats are becoming smaller and smaller. This in turn drives more birds to our remaining gardens where many are forced to live their lives, and this includes the completely normal and natural occurrence of predation.  
     

    Not all species are declining (e.g. chaffinch, blackcap), even though magpies are not selective in their predation. Some species, such as tree sparrow and starling, have suffered declines despite being protected from magpie predation by nesting in holes.

    However, measures can be taken to reduce the predation of nests by other birds, using wire mesh netting, of varying dimensions depending on the birds you are trying to prevent - you can find full information on how to go about this on our main website

    Good luck!

     

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • In reply to Sheena:

    Yep, that's what i understood - my reply was about magpies, albeit long winded, as was the link to protecting nests from predation.....

    Help swifts by letting us know what they're up to - fill in the 2010 survey

  • In reply to Sooty:

    michael s said:

    could be a old nylon sheet tied somewhere relatively close may keep the magpie away but always the risk of upsetting the blackbird but our blackbirds would not worry.Almost certainly unless you take some action the magpies will take all the chicks.There are far too many magpies and are horrific killers of smaller birds particularly nestlings. 

    Whether there are too many Magpies rather depends on your point of view. They will be present if there is appropriate habitat and food sources. If there aren't they will disappear. Certain "interest groups" would have us believe that there are far too many Peregrines, or Goshawks, or even Otters.  Species find their own level. 

    Every day a little more irate about bird of prey persecution, and I have a cat - Got a problem with that?

  • In reply to John B (not the sloop):

    John B where the theory of people who want magpies to find there own level falls to pieces is that due to all of us who use the roads or have things delivered by road or use roads in one way or another which i would suggest is just about all of us.This means that magpies are at a much higher level than they would normally be because they feast on road kills and are whatever the scientists say one of the reasons small birds are declining and all of people who work out in the country agree on that fact.That in itself is condemnation as it is probably the only thing that group of people agree 100%.