Magpies are kind of a mixed bag. They're common, and very attractive depending on your tastes. Black and white plumage is complemented by a green tinge. They're intelligent and social, and easy to find in many environments both natural and human. Easy enough to attract they can be a great choice for bird enthusiasts. The downside is their sometimes predatory nature.
Without sufficient food they resort to preying on the chicks and eggs of other birds. A common worry is that if you provide shelter and food for other birds magpies will turn up of their own accord to feed on your intended visitors. By keeping them well fed you can prevent their predatory nature while experiencing a quite intriguing bird.
As mentioned above, magpies love to eat the eggs of other birds, a major risk. If there aren't too many nests in your garden then putting up a fake nest can be an easy way to attract them. Use an abandoned nest, or alternatively buy or build your own. An effective technique is taking the leftover egg shells from your regular meal, and leaving the yolk in them, or just leaving out the entire egg.
This is bound to attract many magpies, and sometimes a crow or two. Feed with caution, though. Attracting too many could be dangerous for any other birds you keep.
Magpies aren't picky about what they eat, and will happily eat any scraps. They're ground feeders, and will only eat from nests or the floor. To stand the best chance of bringing them in try throwing out some fresh meat. They're happy to eat dog or cat food, from the bowl or just left on the floor. An effective method to feed a larger group is leaving a gutted rabbit on the lawn. In places where rabbits aren't considered pests this can be expensive or frowned upon, though.
Keeping other Birds Fed
Like I said above, magpies are ground feeders, so the floor or a table is best for them. Trying to perch on a standard feeder is a clumsy action, and they'll be flapping until they fall off. Nonetheless they'll try, and succeed if they're motivated. Cage feeders are popular among individuals who wish to attract magpies without scaring smaller birds off the feeder. These allow birds of a certain size to enter, whereas the larger magpie will quickly learn not to bother trying.
Magpies can be satisfying birds to keep on a semi-permanent basis. Setting up housing is easy enough. They'll respond well to a large, open fronted nesting box places on a tree or possibly a wall. They aren't cavity nesters, so giving them the capacity to build an open nest is the best chance of convincing them to stay.
Magpies can be a great specimen to attract to a garden, though being careful about how they interact with the existing wildlife is important. If there are any nests in use you care about then magpies could pose a very real threat to their young. Nonetheless, follow these tips and you should have no difficulty convincing them to at least give your garden a visit.
GardenBird.co.uk, a supplier of wild bird food, were selected by Marcus Finch to help him write his latest article. Even though Marcus does have in depth knowledge he wanted to utilize their experience.