Monday, June 11, 2012

You are NOT Welcome in My Gardens

I once had a sign in my gardens that said:

All Birds are Welcome.

I don't anymore.

Magpies are no longer welcome in my gardens.

Black-billed Magpie

Sure they are a pretty bird with their long tail feathers and striking color,
and through the years I've learned to put up with their raucous noise 
and their rudeness at the bird feeders... hey, don't hog it all!

I've even tolerated them as they've arrived in mass on their daily rounds throughout our neighborhood scaring all the song birds away.

Not any longer... 
I'm officially waging WAR on all Magpies.

In fact, I'm thinking of posting a sign that declares:


Don't You DARE Enter This Garden!


Why the change of heart?

I've discovered that Magpies don't just eat 
and insects 
and leftover picnic garbage.

In the Spring they raid bird nests to eat 
the eggs 
and new little hatchlings.

Now I know why they methodically move from tree to tree in my gardens.

I watched last week as a Magpie raided 
Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee's Cottage in the Redbuds.
(Visit my Facebook page for happy thoughts about our Chickadee's arrival.)

My attempt to scare the nasty villain away was too late.
The deed was done.

I can't help but wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee's hearts are as broken as mine.

Over the course of several weeks,
 I watched those two little birds feather their nest in their new home.
I heard the first tiny peeps come from within those walls.
I watched as both Mr. and Mrs. worked tirelessly to keep those little ones fed.
And I listened each day as the peeps grew stronger and stronger.

I resisted the urge to peek inside, not wanting to endanger them in any way. 
Such an act of willpower...
I so wanted to see the new life that now was a part of my everyday.

Their home is outside the window over my kitchen sink 
so I've seen a lot of comings and goings.
I've waited patiently for the day when those babies will peek 
their tiny heads through the opening.

And then that big old magpie 
stuck his ugly beak into their home.

My son tells me...

It's the circle of life. 

I contemplate the thought but it doesn't make me feel any better.

The Magpie population in our neighborhood is getting out of hand...
who is the magpie predator?

Maybe it has to be me.
Any ideas?


  1. Target practice for the grandkids!

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  3. Donna@Gardens Eye ViewJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Such a beautiful bird...we have grackles that raid the nests and the robins are forever chasing them.  I have stayed out of it letting nature take her course...i draw the line with neighbors they are not allowed...hard to not want to ban a bad bird.

  4. Try adding a nest guard to your bird houses. They are big enough to allow the little birds to come in but too small for the predators. They will also prevent bigger birds from penetrating the nest with their beaks. I've attached a link so you can see what I'm talking about. Good luck!

  5. I had to smile while reading this article. My neighbor had to even put out a fake owl to ward off would be garden dwellers. Nice article. Thanks

  6. It was really an interesting article. I keep on thinking what did these bird did to you that made you so mad as I read on the article. I must agree what happen to those chickadees were just sad. Well, good luck on waving them off.

  7. I can imagine the disappointment of the Mr and Mrs and you.  The suggestion offered by Casa Mariposa sounds promising.  Going to check out that link now as the grackles are the dreaded bird down this way.  Noisy, smelly, bullies! 

  8. Well, I must say I agree with your son. That was my thought exactly while reading your post. Believe me, when we mess with nature it doesn't came out well. I understand your sorrow but, if I were you, I would leave the nature take its course.

  9. Je ne connais pas le premier oiseau. Très beau!

  10. Jen @ Muddy Boot DreamsJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Oh I so feel like you heart was broken when I realized that our feeding them might endanger the other little birds, so we withdrew the feed.  I can't believe something so gracefully beautiful can hurt so many other inhabitants.  We are overrun with them here.

  11. How I found your post so very topical today. My current entry has a little of how Myra has been feeding the Magpies. I will make sure she reads this and that may finally be the end of it.

  12. I don't like these birds too, they  fight and loud scream out.

  13. How sad and very disheartening. I have that problem with grackles, crows and starlings. The Magpie is a much prettier bird too. The trio on nest snatchers and desroyers has outed robins and the grackles even caused injury to the robin pair. The cliche always says 'Ain't nature grade?", but not always.

  14. A couple of years ago, a magpie destroyed a long-tailed tit nest in my garden, killing the chicks and one adult. But what goes around comes around. Last year the magpie nest was destroyed by crows. Nature can be really cruel at times.

  15. So sad, Carolyn!  Good luck keeping the bullies away.  Your redbud is stunning, by the way. 

  16. oh Carolyn I feel for you and your chickadees I too would be feeling unfriendly thoughts towards the magpie, yours is the second blog I've read recently about these birds, if there isn't a predator in your area for the magpie then nature has already been unbalaced so you would only  be redressing that balance, your tree is beautiful and the birdhouse with the chickadee looks so sweet in it, Frances

  17. Thank you all for your sympathy and suggestions. After careful consideration of all the thoughts I've gathered I'm doing what I supposed I would do all along... nothing. I cannot bring myself to injure another living creature. Actually my nothing consists of going outside each morning when I hear the Magpie calls in my yard and clapping my hands loudly as I shout at them to leave. So far it's working, they fly away. 
    However I'm quite sure my neighbors are worried about my sanity. Oh well.

  18. Have you tried a nest guard? They're very effective. They allow the little birds in but keep the bigger ones out and were developed by ornithologists. You can find them at Here's a link:

  19. Thank you... I'll keep that in mind next year. The bird houses are now vacant and the nests are all empty except for one robins nest that I'm watching. We do still have baby quail that have managed to escape. Ah... nature. you have to take the bad with the good I suppose.


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