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In recent years, the raven-like birds have increasingly conquered urban and rural residential areas. Here they can easily find food, as well as sufficient nesting opportunities and, by the way, there are far fewer natural enemies. However, magpies are not always welcome, because they plunder birds' nests and devastate gardens. The small, self-confident birds of prey are said to be clever, but they are also very loud, pushy, cheeky and thieving.

Natural habitat

The increased appearance of the small predators in residential areas, parks and gardens is usually presented as an explosive increase. However, this is not correct, although the birds find easy living conditions here. On closer inspection, the corvids were more likely to be forced to leave their original habitat, for which humans are not entirely innocent.

After the Second World War, the systematic destruction of their homeland began

  • an extensive agriculture
  • use of pesticides
  • Removal of hedges and shrubs
  • an intense pursuit

So the magpies had to leave their near-natural habitat and look for a new place to stay. In the vicinity of people, they can find enough food all year round without much effort. Today's plague is therefore not due to an increase in bird numbers, but rather to a population shift.

A permanent expulsion of the magpies from the settlement areas can usually be done by restoring the natural habitats of these animals such as:

  • no use of pesticides in favor of ecological plant protection measures
  • Creation of retreats
  • targeted planting of strips of trees and hedges
  • Leave edge strips on water bodies and fields
  • Cultivation of crops in mixed culture instead of monoculture

notice: The “thieving” magpie loves everything that shines and glitters. Many objects are attractive to them, so they should not be left unattended. Otherwise they could disappear quickly.

Magpie is under protection

Magpies are not only very loud, but also extremely pushy and bold. Over time they have shed their fear of humans. They are also relatively smart, able to quickly remember people and certain events. Every year during the breeding season of the songbirds, the magpies plunder their nests and no garden is safe from them. It is only too understandable to want to get rid of these predators. However, there are a few things to consider here, because according to the EU Birds Protection Directive from 1979, all European birds, including magpies, are protected.

Although new regulations and guidelines have also been issued over the years regarding the huntability of magpies, the expulsion of these raven-like birds continues forbidden. Due to a change in the hunting season ordinance at state level, magpies are considered a huntable species in North Rhine-Westphalia and other federal states. With the entry into force of the state hunting law in 2014, hunting is possible except during the closed season from March 1st to July 31st. However, it should be noted that this hunting right is suspended in densely populated areas.

However, the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) still applies to all private individuals without a hunting license. This states that magpies are protected wild animals that are independent of the season

  • expelled
  • hunted or
  • killed

may be. Continue to be punished

  • the destruction of nests
  • Damage to eggs and
  • killing of young animals

In order to get rid of the pests, other solutions must be found. Measures that don't even invite the magpies to linger in the garden would be obvious here.

notice: Normally, magpies are considered pests. However, if you take a closer look, they are more useful for the ecological balance, because in addition to spiders, insects, mice, carrion and waste are on their menu.

Keep magpies away instead of driving them away

deprive of livelihood

Since the Federal Nature Conservation Act now prohibits the expulsion of magpies in any form, preventive measures should be taken to make the garden as uncomfortable as possible for the black and white corvids. There are several effective ways to do this:

  • deprivation of food sources
  • Use of natural enemies
  • Elimination of hiding places
  • Protection of seedbeds, fruit trees and shrubs
  • protection of songbirds

Eliminate food base

Magpies are not particularly picky about their food. In addition to bird eggs, young birds, spiders, mice and other insects, they are also content with waste and carrion. So that the corvids cannot make easy prey, should

  • no leftover food left lying around
  • Compost heap covered with tarp
  • Kitchen waste not stored outdoors and in paper bags
  • Garbage can lids closed
  • Damaged dustbins repaired or exchanged immediately and
  • Removed leftover food from ponds

will. It is also advisable in winter to set up the food sources for songbirds so that they are protected from magpies. Bird feeders with small openings are well suited for this. Dropped food and fruit should always be swept up.

Natural enemies

Magpies are afraid of dogs, cats and their natural predators such as ravens, crows and hawks. This fear should be taken advantage of. However, there are a few things to consider:

  • get a dog or cat
  • alternatively invite guests with dogs
  • repeatedly simulating a dog barking or a cat hissing
  • additional distribution of tufts of cat or dog hair
  • to simulate corresponding noises
  • Place realistic-looking animal figures in the form of ravens, crows or hawks in the garden
  • only effective in combination with calls and screams of the corresponding birds

tip: Magpies are very intelligent. They quickly see through the strategy, if a dog or cat is only seen at long intervals, they know for sure there is no danger.

The garden next to it must be laid out in such a way that a bird of prey can really swoop down at any time. Only then is a successful defense guaranteed, since the magpie also notices something like this. It is necessary for this

  • to create the impression of a free trajectory
  • therefore thin out the shrubs regularly

Offer no hiding places

The black and white corvids like to seek shelter in dense woods, mainly treetops. It is now necessary to eliminate these hiding places:

  • Thin out shrubs and treetops regularly
  • with no hiding places, magpies move on

protect plants

Magpies have a particular fondness for seeds, seedlings and sprouting young plants. Hence it is necessary

  • Cover seedbeds with a tight-meshed net
  • Put small wooden sticks or special net holders in the ground at a distance of 40 to 50 cm
  • Pull the bird protection net over the bed using the brackets and fix it in place
  • Mesh width should be 2 to 3 cm
  • alternatively cover bed
  • Pull thin nylon or cotton strings criss-cross over the surface between wooden sticks

tip: This method has the advantage that there is a greater distance to the ground than when using bird protection nets. The young plants can thus develop unhindered.

In addition, fruit on the fruit tree or bush should also be protected from these voracious birds.

  • Use of bird protection nets
  • Holes should have a maximum diameter of 10 cm
  • In this way, songbirds can still get hold of existing caterpillars and other insects
  • Magpies have no attack surface
  • visit and dispose of fallen fruit regularly

Protect songbirds from predators

Every year during the breeding season of the garden birds, the raven-like birds also become very active. They then plunder the nests, preferred by blackbirds, eat eggs and also young birds. Every year, about 10 percent of some songbird species fall victim to magpies.
Protection of the nests and young animals can be implemented quickly with a few measures.

  • create sheltered retreats
  • evergreen hedges with thorns are suitable nesting sites for tits, finches and blackbirds
  • Oregon grape, firethorn, holly provide dense evergreen hedges
  • also ideal for raspberry or blackberry bushes
  • Hanging nest boxes with small entrance holes
  • with appropriate nesting boxes, the bird species can live together
Nest box in the garden

notice: It has been scientifically proven that magpies and other corvids do not pose a real threat to songbird populations. For example, tit, finch and blackbird that live in the vicinity of magpies have been shown to have a higher settlement density. However, humans are primarily responsible for the death of songbirds.

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