21 Facts about Magpies

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21 Facts about Magpies

  • Hi there

    Some facts about Magpies

    Source: http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/21-facts/

    1. Magpie numbers in Britain and Ireland have quadrupled in the last 35 years.

    2. The increase has been particularly noticeable in suburban areas.

    3. During the winter the magpie’s diet is largely vegetarian, and in the summer predominately ground invertebrates. Only during the spring, when feeding its young, does it become a major predator, raiding the nests of songbirds for eggs and young.

    4. Opinions differ widely on the impact of magpies on nesting birds. Most studies suggest that their impact is minimal, but where magpies have been removed, breeding success of songbirds has improved.

    5. One of the explanations for the magpie’s booming population is thought to be the amount of carrion from road kills available today, providing a year-round food source.

    6. Magpies can be caught legally in Larsen traps, a live-capture trap that uses a decoy bird to lure others into the trap. Many thousands are caught and killed in this way every year.

    7. A male magpie, attracted to a female decoy, will attempt to court and mate with her unless his mate accompanies him, in which case their joint response is aggressive.

    8. Magpies have always been surrounded by superstition, and there are many versions of the poem that begins:

     

                 One for sorrow, two for joy…

     
    9. There was an old rural tradition of raising one’s hat to a magpie; now few people wear hats, the tradition has largely died out.

    10. A magpie looks much bigger than it is: the tail makes up half the bird’s length. Its average weight is only about half that of a wood pigeon’s.

    11. They can be found throughout almost all of mainland Europe, from southern Spain and Greece north to Lapland, but are absent from many offshore islands, including Sardinia, Corsica, the Balearics and Iceland.

    12. Pairs usually remain within their territories, but non-breeding birds wander more widely in small gangs or bands.

    13. They are non-migratory, and it’s rare for one to ever travel more than 10km from where it was hatched.

    14. Though most nests are built in trees, where there are no suitable trees they will build on the ground.

    15. A typical nest incorporates a roof, and may have two entrances, but some populations build open nests.

    16. Long-eared owls often adopt old magpie nests.

    17. The date of the first egg being laid is largely the same throughout Europe, with the peak period mid to late April.

    18. In southern Spain great spotted cuckoos often lay their eggs in magpie nests.

    19. In Britain magpies have relatively few enemies apart from man, but in some parts of Europe they are the favourite prey of goshawks.

    20. Communal winter roosts may hold as many as 200 birds.

    21. The roosting birds have usually departed before sunrise.

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

  • Nice Magpie info, thanks for sharing! :-)

  • Thanks Blackbird. We have many magpies in my neck of the woods. Such beautiful birds, as long as they stay clear of any nests in my garden!!

  • Hardly get any magpies around here :-(   I've never seen one where I live at all, not even heard one around here!  I don't know why either!  I get excited when I see/hear them when I'm out on walks now lol

  • Hi Kat

    That is disappointing for you Kat .. depending on the area you stay

    We get loads in Bedford and hear the squawks everywhere.

    There was some issues in Scotland with their decline at one stage especially at East Lothian.

    Unmistakeable bird, and I have counted 4 in our garden at the present moment.

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

    KatTai

    Hardly get any magpies around here :-(   I've never seen one where I live at all, not even heard one around here!  I don't know why either!  I get excited when I see/hear them when I'm out on walks now lol

  • A couple more magpie things...

    In the 70's, ITV had a version of Blue Peter called Magpie. The theme tune was a rock version of the poem mentioned above. It was sung by the band Murgatroyd.

    Folklore has it that magpies like stealing shiny things like jewellery from peoples homes. In Brighton there is a long standing re-cycling group called Magpie.

     

  • Hi Billy

    We must be similar ages.  I remember the programmes that you are discussing at the moment

    The link to the Magpie programme:

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWqXZEngVc8

    Magpie .....

    One for sorrow

    Two for joy

    Three for a girl

    Four for a boy

    Five for silver

    Six for Gold

    Seven for a secret never to be told

    Magpie .....

    True with the Folklore with the thieving of gleaming items - they are attracted by shiney articles

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

    Billy Wix

    A couple more magpie things...

    In the 70's, ITV had a version of Blue Peter called Magpie. The theme tune was a rock version of the poem mentioned above. It was sung by the band Murgatroyd.

    Folklore has it that magpies like stealing shiny things like jewellery from peoples homes. In Brighton there is a long standing re-cycling group called Magpie.

  • Billy Wix

    A couple more magpie things...

    In the 70's, ITV had a version of Blue Peter called Magpie. The theme tune was a rock version of the poem mentioned above. It was sung by the band Murgatroyd.

    Folklore has it that magpies like stealing shiny things like jewellery from peoples homes. In Brighton there is a long standing re-cycling group called Magpie.

     

     

     

    I remember that TV progarm, showing our age :-)

    Magpies have such lovely colours in they feathers

    I always remember my mother telling me to chase off magpies.

    she told me that a friend of her was in her garden watching her cat with her kittens when a coulpe of magpie flew down and took a kitten, they ripped it apart  before flying off to eat it. she hates them, but wouldn't hurt them.

     

  • Hi Kathy.

    Another great list of facts.  Thanks for posting them.

    Regards Buzzard