Magpies attacking blackbird and nest

  • In reply to Sooty:


    So what you're saying is that the Magpie population is being maintained at an artificially high level by the year round availability of roadkill. One could equally argue that the population of small songbirds is being maintained at an artificially high level by lots of people (me included) feeding them for a large part of the year, and erecting nestboxes. 

    Lots of species are being helped along. Every year tens of thousands of captive bred Pheasants are dumped into the countryside to compete with wildlife for resources (or get shot),  Rats, Gulls, assorted Corvids, Red Kites, and others cash in on edible human waste at landfill sites and in the streets.  Ospreys are eternally grateful for trout farms, Cormorants appreciate inland coarse fisheries.  I've even seen Turnstones pecking contentedly around under benches in coastal resorts. It's not shellfish they're looking for - It's pasty and chips. 

    You state that "small birds are declining and all of [sic] people who work out in the country agree on that fact". Can we have verifiable evidence of this level of consensus please? Incidentally not all small birds are declining.  


    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 think you well know that the RSPB and almost everyone agrees that most small birds are declining and would be declining even faster if were not fed in gardens.Probably several of the others you mention have been a problem and have had to be controlled or will become a problem even as you mention Cormorants can now under certain circumstances.Once human activity on this planet reached a certain level many decades ago the system of letting everything set its own level was obsolete as a example we would definitely be overrun with one that you mention which is rats if they were not controlled.

  • In reply to Sooty:


    I hear you - if a wildlife species inconveniences us or we disapprove of what it's doing then it needs controlling. I don't really have a problem with selective controlling of species populations where they pose a clear and present danger to health/safety, or there is an sound evidence based environmental/species protection reason for doing so.  Magpies (where this exchange started) don't fall into either category.  They consume eggs and nestlings of other species and always have done, so do many other species. 

    If convincing verifiable evidence ever emerges that  Magpies have a significant effect, at national/regional level on small bird populations then I might accept that their numbers (Magpies, not small birds) are too high and need managing. I can't however accept that Magpies need controlling because some people  think they have bad habits and that there are too many of them..

    I'm not disposed to comment further on this thread, so please feel free to have the last word.



    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 Can guarantee you would feel differently if you owned sheep and lambs and because too many Magpies in the countryside your lambs had their (sic) eyes pecked out but then that is nature,especially if anyone happens to be a vegetarian but even then they would not like to see it i can guarantee.

  • In reply to Sooty:

    Thank you all very much for your replies to my original email - didn't realise what a can of worms I was opening! Have to report that I was away for a few days and returned last night hoping to see the fledglings ready to leave the nest, but sadly the honeysuckle and nest had been ripped from the fence and there was only one very mangled corpse on the ground. The culprit wasn't a magpie - according to neighbours there have been a lot of young foxes in the gardens this weekend and can only deduce that they managed to tear down the trellis, plant and nest the previous evening, as the neighbours had seen the mother feeding the birds up to Monday night. I do feel priveleged that I saw the nest being built, eggs laid, hatched and 10 days of thrilling development. Intend to pay more attention to the birds that come into my garden - have taken them too much for granted previously!

    Best wishes to you all,


  • I can't stand magpies such a disgusting bird who constantly killing our garden songbirds, we have so many small birds who have died in our garden and attached, small birds shells broken on the floor and bodies

    we just buried a sparrow :'( 

  • I have just watched a magpie chase an adult blackbird around the garden blackbird managed to get away this isn’t the first time I’ve seen them after adult birds
  • @JohnB ... no problem with cats. As long as they are on your property they are lovable adorable family members. Once they stray out of those bounds and into my garden, they are considered vermin.

    Got a problem with that?
  • Had some magpie trouble this morning, and searching the Internet came across this great thread from 11 years ago.

    The various websites say that there's no scientific evidence magpies cause decline of other birds. Ok that's fair enough and I trust the science.

    However what I saw today from this particular magpie couple was completely over the top. Vicious attack on blackbird couple resulting in death of the adult male blackbird. Then turned onto crows twice their size and pecked them away. We haven't seen the crows since.

    Now they're bouncing from rooftop to rooftop looking for other birds to bully. The finches have all vanished, everyone is terrified including the neighbour's cat.

    So whilst the science might say we're too harsh on magpies, and habitat loss is to blame etc. I'm pretty sure the blackbirds, blue tits and goldfinches that are trying to live here would be much happier if this particularly vicious pair would leave our estate.
  • That makes sense, thanks for bringing up an alternative perspective. We have a large conifer above the fence and both magpies and blackbirds go in and out of it constantly through various holes. I can’t tell if there are nests, or whose, but feel that a close inspection would not be a good idea so I’m not going to attempt.

    Initially the most likely reason for today’s deadly fight appeared to be that the magpies tried to steal the blackbird’s hypothetical nest eggs and the male died defending them. On balance however I’m starting to wonder whether it is the magpies that have a nest there rather than the blackbirds and are defending it rather forcefully.

    Reflecting on the reason why I rushed to assume it was the magpie’s fault, I suppose it is the assumption that if a blackbird has a nest and a magpie wants the eggs, the blackbird is outgunned in every sense and there’s nothing he can do. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick here?