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Ask RiotACT: Magpies in our backyard

By user_unknown - 6 October 2015 14

Ask RiotACT

Hi, I have a question that Google can’t seem to answer for me!

We have an issue with magpies that are coming into our backyard to try and steal our food.  TAMS isn’t helpful, as their advice is to steer clear of the area, walk don’t run etc but I can’t exactly avoid my backyard.

They’re not nesting in trees in our backyard, but in trees further away. Why they like our backyard, I have no idea.

I don’t want to feed them as that encourages them to come back and expect to be fed all the time and then get aggressive if you don’t. RSPCA also don’t recommend feeding, so I don’t want that as a suggestion.

So, I’m sort of stuck… How do I make our backyard less inviting and how on earth do they know we have food? Do they smell it or see it? Their nests as I said aren’t exactly close and they have to fly over a group of town houses before they reach our yard.

Suggestions?

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Magpies in our backyard
Nightshade 9:53 pm 08 Oct 15

I mentioned your problem to a friend who has had a somewhat similar experience. He said that magpies respond to physical intimidation – it’s how they operate amongst themselves, defending territory and turfing out grown offspring. When his resident magpies tried landing on his outdoor table and stealing food, they were discouraged by banging the table hard or clapping loudly – basically making a loud unexpected noise at them. It only took once or twice and they got the message. They still come around and he is friendly with them away from the table. They forget while they’re away during the breeding season – they try it on again when they return but get the message quickly enough.

His disclaimer – he’s not a magpie expert but this works for him.

user_unknown 8:20 pm 08 Oct 15

Correct curlylocks – they are coming when we want to eat brekky or lunch outside.

They don’t seem come outside of that (ie when we’re gardening or just outside in the sun having tea or coffee or beer or wine) or if they do, they don’t do much other than sit on the fence or the roof for a bit then fly off. The problem when we have food is they come right up to us and want to steal food from us.

Nightshade: doesn’t seem to matter when we have food during the day, but they don’t seem to come if we have food out at night or if we have bbqs with lots of people.

Rubaiyat: that’s great for you, but they’re getting right up to us with food and becoming aggressive, ie they want to steal our food. This is after they’ve dug up a stack of grubs from our garden, they still want to eat our food. They don’t bother me when we don’t have food outside, because, well, they leave me alone (or just watch!)

Postalgeek: haha I actually considered that! but was too petrified I’d be swooped!

Basically, they come right up to us and try and steal food from us and if they’re unsuccessful, they start to get snappy and won’t go away and start to look like they want to attack you.

rubaiyat 4:48 pm 07 Oct 15

Mysteryman said :

rubaiyat said :

Mysteryman said :

rubaiyat said :

The maggies and I get on gangbusters. I have never had a problem with them. Even had them come perch on a bus bench next to me.

I love their warble and we happily, closely share our space in the garden. I don’t feed them anything from our food but will toss them an occasional grub that I unearth. Even there I prefer they just pick it up themselves without seeing me as their food source.

They are extremely intelligent, something I appreciate and do not find threatening.

That’s really great. We’re all so proud of you. It’s not even remotely helpful, but really, thanks for posting

There you have exactly why I appreciate the company of the magpies over some Canberrans.

By all means, spend more time with the magpies if it means less of you posting on here.

Oooh err, that told me!

Mysteryman 2:58 pm 07 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

Mysteryman said :

rubaiyat said :

The maggies and I get on gangbusters. I have never had a problem with them. Even had them come perch on a bus bench next to me.

I love their warble and we happily, closely share our space in the garden. I don’t feed them anything from our food but will toss them an occasional grub that I unearth. Even there I prefer they just pick it up themselves without seeing me as their food source.

They are extremely intelligent, something I appreciate and do not find threatening.

That’s really great. We’re all so proud of you. It’s not even remotely helpful, but really, thanks for posting

There you have exactly why I appreciate the company of the magpies over some Canberrans.

By all means, spend more time with the magpies if it means less of you posting on here.

rubaiyat 12:18 pm 07 Oct 15

Mysteryman said :

rubaiyat said :

The maggies and I get on gangbusters. I have never had a problem with them. Even had them come perch on a bus bench next to me.

I love their warble and we happily, closely share our space in the garden. I don’t feed them anything from our food but will toss them an occasional grub that I unearth. Even there I prefer they just pick it up themselves without seeing me as their food source.

They are extremely intelligent, something I appreciate and do not find threatening.

That’s really great. We’re all so proud of you. It’s not even remotely helpful, but really, thanks for posting

There you have exactly why I appreciate the company of the magpies over some Canberrans.

Mysteryman 10:50 am 07 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

The maggies and I get on gangbusters. I have never had a problem with them. Even had them come perch on a bus bench next to me.

I love their warble and we happily, closely share our space in the garden. I don’t feed them anything from our food but will toss them an occasional grub that I unearth. Even there I prefer they just pick it up themselves without seeing me as their food source.

They are extremely intelligent, something I appreciate and do not find threatening.

That’s really great. We’re all so proud of you. It’s not even remotely helpful, but really, thanks for posting

Postalgeek 10:38 am 07 Oct 15

Garden hose, rinse, repeat.

Genie 10:34 am 07 Oct 15

Honestly, just feed them. Put out some dog or cat food towards the back of the yard.

As they’re quite territorial, they consider your yard as theirs and keep other magpies away.

One of our cats stopped coming into the house and we fed her on the front door step, a magpie used to come past and eat her leftovers and pick at the dry food. When she passed away, the food stopped being put out the front and the magpie used to make noise until you fed it. But they were always the only one in our yard. For years we had issues with swooping birds, but this one scared them away.

geetee 9:18 am 07 Oct 15

If you’ve ever eaten outdoors around Garema Place, you would know that your plate is considered fair game by a squadron of magpies. I’ve even seen a pair fly off with a whole fillet when a guy with a plate of fish and chips moved away for a second to grab some salt or something.

rubaiyat 8:26 pm 06 Oct 15

The maggies and I get on gangbusters. I have never had a problem with them. Even had them come perch on a bus bench next to me.

I love their warble and we happily, closely share our space in the garden. I don’t feed them anything from our food but will toss them an occasional grub that I unearth. Even there I prefer they just pick it up themselves without seeing me as their food source.

They are extremely intelligent, something I appreciate and do not find threatening.

Nightshade 7:55 pm 06 Oct 15

A pair of magpies has visited my backyard in the late afternoon for years. I’ve no idea where their nest is. Knowing that magpies are territorial, I’ve concluded that my yard is in their territory, and they must rotate through “their” various yards each day looking for food (grubs etc). They get around to mine at about the same time each day.

Is this the kind of behaviour you’re talking about? If you’re in their territory, I expect it would be hard to discourage them without actually harming them. They would probably come regardless of whether you have food – but the food would be making it worth their while. If you are eating meals outside, maybe they’ve slotted in their visit for mealtime. What happens if you have food outside at a different time? Do they still come?

curlylocks 7:30 pm 06 Oct 15

chewy14 said :

Why do you have food in your backyard and what exactly are the magpies doing that you want to stop?

they are probably having dinner or lunch in the backyard (the person who wrote post that is) And the Magpie is trying to take the food that the poor person persons are eating.

I am not sure what you can do. the only thing I can think of is some scare tape that you can purchase from Bunnings normally it is used in fruit trees/ garden beds to keep the birds away

Kim F 4:48 pm 06 Oct 15

Hungry German Shepherd for a pet ?

chewy14 4:23 pm 06 Oct 15

Why do you have food in your backyard and what exactly are the magpies doing that you want to stop?

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