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.
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.
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.
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 :'(
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