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How to stop thieving magpies?

  john bunyan 09:57 21 Jun 2020

I have occasional hedgehogs, that come through a special hole I left under the wall between my house and neighbours. I made , a bit further along , a hedgehog sized tunnel 18” long made from roof tiles. No matter how far in to this tunnel I put hedgehog food in a coffee jar lid, magpies come down and rob it. I even tried putting some fishing nylon above the tunnel entrance but the magpies went under it. I captured the thieves on a trail camera. How can I feed the hedgehog? I would have to wait until it is totally dark to put the food in to avoid them as they come up to 8.30 pm to thwart them but that is not always possible

  wee eddie 10:59 21 Jun 2020

The old way was to hang a dead one up, close by.

Magpies are a dominant predator in the small-bird community, so anything that you can do to dissuade them would be useful. They eat eggs and fledglings from the nests of small birds and mob larger predators

  Aitchbee 11:54 21 Jun 2020

Following on from what wee eddie says I'd try placing a large deep plastic container almost filled with water nearby. There's a good chance that one of the sillier magpies will fancy a dip and get trapped and die a watery death. Might put the others off.

Also watched three magpies relentlessy taunt a solitary crow trying to build a nest over several days a few weeks ago in a tree just a few metres from my first floor window. It's a favourite tree for crows. No resident crows this year sad to say.

btw, see recent Aldi special on large black 80litre capacity refuse containers!

  Forum Editor 13:23 21 Jun 2020

Magpies are intelligent birds, but tend to be unpopular - mainly because of their 'in your face' attitude. Their tendency to predate small birds and fledglings gets them a bad press, but they are simply doing what they evolved to do.

They are territorial birds, and hold their five acre area all year round - I have a pair that are in my garden at some point on most days, and they scare off the small birds from the feeders. In the summer months I have breakfast outside if the weather is good, and sooner or later a magpie will come looking for anything going, it will nip onto the table and make off with any food it can grab if I go into the house for any reason.

  Pine Man 14:50 21 Jun 2020

Found that shooting them with one of the Grandchildren's NERF Guns keeps them at bay with no actual harm done to them.

  wee eddie 15:35 21 Jun 2020

Not sure if this is any use:

My Café, and its Garden, were in a Georgian Seaside Town. Seagulls were the problem and stopping them nesting was a nightmare. However a friend from the Lake District, who had a waterside Pub, solved it.

A special Catapult with a Wrist Grip, and Ice Cubes, were the solution. Should I accidentally break a window, the evidence melted away as they sought it out. Of course, we rarely hit a bird and never damaged one, but the disturbance caused them to move to less distracting pastures.

  john bunyan 16:00 21 Jun 2020

Thanks for the suggestions; for the moment I have stopped feeding at ground level. The magpies hang off the squirrel proof bird feeders and scare off the other birds

  morddwyd 19:33 21 Jun 2020

Magpies are carrion eaters.

Trying to scare them off with dead meat, even their own kind, will have the oppose effect, no matter what the old gamekeepers say!

They are sedentary, and if you can scare them off they won't quickly return.

That's why they are largely absent from vast tracts of Northern uplands looked after by gamekeepers!

You might try a selective ultra-sonic device, but difficult to deter magpies and nothing else.

  john bunyan 19:50 21 Jun 2020


Thanks. I have a couple of ultrasonic deterrents to keep the odd wandering deer from plants.I have lost the manual but surely they might also deter hedgehogs? Maybe there’s a bird setting . I may move one to try it.

  wee eddie 21:41 21 Jun 2020

Sorry MDD, I have had to check this out.

Magpies are not Carrion eaters, as far as I know

  bremner 07:18 22 Jun 2020

From RSPB and includes “They will eat carrion at all times and catch small mammals and bird”

But from the whole piece they pretty much eat everything and anything

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