Magpies (Corvidae spp.)
Magpies (Corvidae spp.) are medium-sized birds with a distinct black and white colouration. As members of the corvid family, they are closely related to crows and rooks. Their unique appearance makes them instantly recognizable, and they are an extremely common sight in both rural and urban areas of the UK.
Magpies (Corvidae spp.)- The Key Facts
Most birds are fairly intelligent, but magpies have the distinction of being among the most intelligent animals in the entire world. They are the only non-mammal to be able to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, and their brains are roughly the same relative size as that of humans and great apes. This makes them a formidable challenge where pest control is concerned, as they will not fall for many of the tricks that can be used to deter other birds. Their intelligence makes them highly persistent, even more so than other pest bird species like gulls.
Magpies are omnivores and will thus feed on anything that they come across. They have a reputation as scavengers due to their status as opportunistic feeders. In rural areas, their diet is mostly made up of small insects and plants like grains, whereas in urban areas they often eat scraps and rubbish. They may pick open bin bags
to get at whatever might be inside.
One common misconception about magpies is that they have a penchant for shiny objects, and may therefore steal jewellery and other trinkets. Recent studies have shown that this is not actually the case and that magpies may actually be scared of such items. The fallacy comes from magpies’ status in European folklore as tricksters and omens of bad luck. In truth, though, food is unlikely to be shiny, and this is what magpies are most interest in. If they pick something up and find they cannot eat it, they will likely simply discard the object immediately.
It is uncommon for magpies to be found in inner cities since they thrive in areas with a lot of trees to build their nests in. However, they are a frequent sight in suburban neighbourhoods which meet this description. They are most likely to be spotted during the breeding season when male magpies will seek out a mate by impressing her. Unlike many other species of birds, magpies are non-migratory. They will spend virtually their entire lives in the general area in which they were hatched, which means an uncontrolled magpie population can quickly build up into a significant issue.
Magpies (Corvidae spp.)- The Significance of Control
Magpies have few natural predators in the wild. They are too large to be an easy target for birds of prey, and too clever to generally be caught by cats or other hunting mammals. As such, a magpie population can grow consistently year-on-year until it becomes a significant issue.
Many people believe that magpies pose a threat to songbird populations, as they have been known to feed on eggs in the nests of these other species. In reality, though, studies have found that predation from magpies has no long-term effect on the overall number of songbirds. That being said, magpies may force other birds out of an area due to their aggressive behaviour as they fiercely guard their food sources.
The primary problem arising from a large magpie population is the sheer amount of noise that these birds produce. They have a distinct chattering cry which they will repeat incessantly, and this can prove to be extremely irritating when it happens day and night. It isn’t uncommon to find dozens of magpies in a small area, and if they are causing significant distress to residents then it may be time to call in the pest control experts.
Call Pest Solutions to Get Rid of That Pest Today!
Pest Solutions skilled BPCA accredited team of service experts and support staff are here 24/7 to assist in your Pest Control Management related concerns. Pest Solutions have many local offices throughout the UK enabling our highly knowledgeable service professionals in your town to respond rapidly to control those pest infestations.
To have a member of our Pest Control service team carry out a FREE survey or a service visit today phone 0800 027 2555. Find the details of your local Pest Solutions Branch here.