Hi there, anyone for magpies?

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bigmackbirds's picture
Hi there, anyone for magpies?

Since extending my home in the Blue Mountains and having a deck in the tree tops overlooking my yard and the bush beyond, we have enjoyed the many birds that frequent my backyard. Our favourites would have to be the entertaining clowns, our magpies. 'Boof-head', 'smokey' and 'baldy', the juvenile maggies that we have at this time, are just another family we have had hang around (of course a bit of raw steak always helps). We have other birds come as well, rainbow lorikeets, king parrots, grey butcherbirds, noisy minors and friarbirds, but the maggies are really the only ones that like to get up close and personal. Everyone seems to get along in the yard but I have read that encouraging maggies can not be good for the other native birds. Can anyone give me some advice as it will be very sad to not have our clowns around?


That is the first time I have ever heard that, I have seen them in many areas with other native species and they all co exist very well.

birdie's picture

HI there Bigmackbirds

We have both in our garden, but the big birds tend to gather at the front( noisy miners, butcherbirds, maggies, currawongs where there is less shelter and we fee them occasionally on the top of our brushwood fence. They are great fun, especially when you throw it in the air and the butchers catch it mid flight. I think the secret is not to make it a regular thing so they don't start demanding. As for territories... we don't have to feed the noisy miners they are just territorial by themselves naturally
At the back of the house near the larger trees and bushes that is where I observe my smaller and more fascinating birds and the two don't really bother eachother there.
I didn't think we got the smaller birds but I have noticed lately that they are there , just hidden more and shyer.



Sunshine Coast Queensland

joanneh's picture

we have two water feeders we tend to find the bossy birds at 1 which leaves the other for the quiter birds. some say only leave water out expecially this time of year as with the koels today

bigmackbirds's picture

Thank you so much for your responses and advice. Maybe it is just that there are not many small birds in our area and my backyard is really good for magpies because we have tall trees and large grassy areas.

Lyn's picture

If you can establish some small to medium size bushes (grevilleas,correas,spiky-leaved bushes) you will find that the small birds will come in. They then have a place to hide from the larger birds. We have both maggies and small birds and the maggies are not a bother to them. The Wattlebirds even chase the maggies!!!

bigmackbirds's picture

I have planted some smaller native shrubs but they are slow growing in our soil which is really sandy and rocky being in the Mountains. We back onto bush so you would think little birds would venture in if not just for a drink. Do magpies really attack smaller birds or are they mainly into bugs? Even the butchers don't seem interested in the other birds around. I can't believe they eat little birds.

Lyn's picture

I hate to tell you this story, but my daughter had an Indian Turtle Dove nesting in a very open (as is their way) spot on her grape-covered pergola. They were delighted when the chicks appeared. But one day a Magpie swooped in, collected one chick and flew off with it.
So unfortunately they obviously do prey on chicks if the opportunity presents itself.
We always have a lot of NHHE's nesting in thick Grevillea bushes in our yard, and I have never seen the Magpies worry them - but they probably wouldn't go into thick bushes, so I think you are on the right track in providing good shelter for the small birds.
It doesn't have to be all native - our Fairy Wrens love the Hebes to nest in.

bigmackbirds's picture

Maybe it is because we only have interaction with juvenile maggies that it seems impossible to me that they would hurt anything. The adult birds may be the hunters and luckily I haven't seem that side of them. Its really a bird eat bird world out there just as you say in your story. I get upset when the baby butcherbirds squabble amongst themselves.

Kerchar's picture

I am in the central coast and over Many observations I have noticed that when ever magpies visit our area minor birds disappear. I have seen magpies attack minor birds invading
their territory and have been wondering if this could be a
way of controlling the minor birds in the area. I have two magpies at present being cared for.


We are in the outer south east of melbourne,and have small honeyeaters,magpie larks,wattlebirds and blackbirds that come in for water and a tub,magpies occasionally come in as well and they all seem to get along ok.We have five baths around the garden,so there is room for all.

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