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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Mackay North Qld
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    6,329

    Default The Magpie Mafia

    The long story made short is that I buy bones for dogs from a rural abattoir. We have a freezer in the shed up the back .

    The bones are packed in pairs in small white plastic bin liner bags so its easy to pull out a bag with 2 bones -1 for each dog - and defrost them.

    Mistake by me in that I had a few chips of bone and meat left over after defrosting threw it to a lone magpie foraging on the lawn.

    That was a few weeks back and now when I go the cupboard (freezer) to get the poor dog/s a bone all the magpies from the 'hood are in my backyard within a minute sometimes quicker than that. Clearly,they have communicated with one another.

    It sounds like exaggeration but honestly it is not. I hear them warbling to each other and in the next instant one magpie turns into several.

    They obviously have a me "staked out". I am supposing that these birds permanent environment encompasses my place and someone close is regularly feeding them.

    There are between five to eleven magpies that materialise in moments of me appearing at the shed door with the aforementioned plastic bag in my hand.

    I was placing the bags up high on the hydraulic press frame so our lab can't reach them. I know he is a food thief when my back is turned, but I am positive it wasn't him.

    Twice now the bags have been on the ground and ripped open but it was not him. The bird poop gave it all away.

    I am quite amazed at these birds. They fly up to me within hands reach and warble/sing/yodel/ demand a feed. Talk about in ya face.

    Generally I am really fond of birds but this bunch have a welfare state mentality. Bludgers ,let them work for a living, I say.

    A down side for me that the magpies crap all over the shed annexe slab and I do not dare wheel the cockatiels cage outside and just leave him unwatched.

    I fear the group may attack him and rip him through the cage bars. Our cockatiel is hand raised and imprinted to the missus and I and very precious to the both of us.

    Once our mutts have savored their bones I now pick them up and bin them.

    Are there any of you guys who get visitations?

    Grahame

  2. #2
    BobL is offline Member: Blue and white apron brigade
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    7,069

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    We feed our Border Collies bones a couple of times week.
    Usually we buy bags of bulk bones and I cut any big ones up with the WW BS and repackage them in plastic bags, same as you 1 in 2 corners of a plastic bag and then twist the bag in half to stoP them sticking together. We give them to the dogs when we have to leave them at home and so we give them the bones in a frozen state as it keeps them occupied for at least an extra 15 minutes.

    I have seen the occasional maggie appear to pick at any leftovers but if they stay too long the borders will round them up.
    We have other bird visitors, a pair of Willys will sometimes appear on the back lawn after mowing, they are not scared by the dogs and just hop into a tree and wait for the dogs to go elsewhere. The inevitable pigeon looking for seeds is often seen.
    We've hung seed cakes from trees out but they don't seen to be that popular and last for many weeks.
    We have a birdbath in the front garden and that is sometimes used by birds on hot days.

    Down at the river foreshow (across from Perth CBD) there are often large flocks of Pink and Greys, or Correllas at this time of the year. They make a racket and sometimes flay over the suburb until they can find a large tree to roost in.

    Early one morning a few weeks back while on our way to walk the dogs at the beach (9km drive), we found a Corrlella flapping furiously on the middle of the main road in front of the river foreshore. It looked like it had a broken or dislocated wing so we wrapped it up in a towel and decided to take it to the Wild Animal Hospital in Bibra Lake. It was too early to drop it at the hospital so we did the beach walk first and we left the Corrella wrapped in a towel in the passengers footwell.

    When we got back from the walk it had disappeared and crawled up behind the dashboard/glovebox. Getting it out was tricky and the blighter bit two of my fingers to the bone so it still had plenty of pluck left in it. We took it to the hospital and they reckoned unless it had serious internal injuries it would recover.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    465

    Default

    We have a family of Maggies we throw crusts at regularly. And yes, as soon as 1 starts the others appear.

    (i heard an interesting interview with a 'bird guy' about feeding native birds, on the concern we give them bad (junk) food, or make them dependant. His conclusion from several actual in-the-wild studies was that they are a lot smarter than people (in managing their diets), get only a very small percentage of their food from us, and that we should continue to feed them if we want.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    York, North Yorkshire UK
    Posts
    5,586

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    Hi Guys,

    We have a row of Leylandi trees down the garden, when the small birds, usually Tits, are nesting we often see Magpies raiding the nests and destroying the eggs to eat them and often if the eggs do hatch the Magpies attack the chicks and kill them ! Same with the Pigeons. We often see egg shells and dead chicks, though just lately we have seen Buzzards land and carry the dead birds away. Its quite spectacular watching a Pigeon getting knobbled by a hawk, feathers all over the place.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  5. #5
    BobL is offline Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    Quote Originally Posted by russ57 View Post
    We have a family of Maggies we throw crusts at regularly. And yes, as soon as 1 starts the others appear.

    (i heard an interesting interview with a 'bird guy' about feeding native birds, on the concern we give them bad (junk) food, or make them dependant. His conclusion from several actual in-the-wild studies was that they are a lot smarter than people (in managing their diets), get only a very small percentage of their food from us, and that we should continue to feed them if we want.
    I must have heard the same interview. Yeah you can't really harm them by providing food.

    Our dogs leave the flocks on the foreshore alone unless the "garbage guts" older dog finds a dead one and then she grabs it and takes it as far away from me as she can, usually hides under a bush and tries to get at it. The feathers seem to retard her getting into it long enough for me to get over to her and then I can just say "drop it" or "leave it" and she looks up at me with those "Oh dang" eyes but she will eventually leave it. Same for Blowies she finds by the river shore

    Same does not apply to Kentucky fried chicken boxes, she immediately wolfs into the contents and I'm lucky to stop her downing the lot in a couple of gulps. Doesnt see to worry her at all.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    moonbi nsw Aus
    Age
    68
    Posts
    349

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    We had a drought here which lasted for about 10 years. No exaggeration! A bloke up the road gave me 2 plough discs to put seed on and let the wild birds have something to eat. We have a family of "Happy Jacks" or Apostle birds (they live in a family group often with 12 members, hence the name), Top Knot Pigeons, Doves, Maggies (Not all the time, they seem to come and go), Gallares, White Cockatoos (only one then he will bring 4 or 5 mates, they come and go too), Willys, Wrens, some times a Satin Bower Bird. Lorikeets ( as small as they are they can bluff the White Cockees). I put the seed out about 9am and then just have a look out during the day to see who we have at that time. There is a reasonably rigid protocol as to who comes and when and who will tolerate others. There are thick bushes around the area where they feed as well as a concrete tub full of water for them to have a drink or a bath. I think its a special thing for the birds to "share" their life with us. For the last 2 or so years we have had heaps of rain and everything is growing but we still get visits and the seed that may not get eaten today may be consumes by Kangaroos or Deer during the night. Some mornings there is no sign of any seed left from the day before due to these larger seed eaters
    Just do it!

    Kind regards Rod

  7. #7
    Boringgeoff is offline Try not to be late, but never be early.
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Bakers Hill WA
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    74
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    37

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    We've got a small flock of five magpies here, the oldest male was a youngster when we arrived so I'd guess he's about 16 now, I call him "polite mate" because there were originally two juveniles, the other, much more pushy so I named them "piggy guts and his polite mate". The flock must have been getting fed by our neighbours because they started hanging around looking for a hand out as soon as we arrived. The five in the flock consist of polite mate, a breeding pair, their son from the 2019 hatching and another from 2020 which I think will also turn out to be a male when it finalises its adult plumage. The chick from last years hatching didn't survive.
    An interesting (to me) thing about them is they don't all like the same food, polite mate likes almonds but not walnuts, the parenting male likes walnuts but not almonds, they all like peanuts and rolled oats except polite mate doesn't like rolled oats.
    Cheers,
    Geoff.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    308

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    There’s an article in ‘The Conversation’ on Magpies outsmarting researchers by removing each other’s tracking devices, the researcher, a lady from New England says it a first.
    Lots of interesting chat from all over after the article and a link to a previous article about humans and birds being friends with even more chat if you’ve time to kill and like Maggies.
    H.
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    formerly from Sydney (north of The Harbour), NSW, Oz
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    67
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    304

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    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    There’s an article in ‘The Conversation’ on Magpies outsmarting researchers by removing each other’s tracking devices, the researcher, a lady from New England says it a first.
    Lots of interesting chat from all over after the article and a link to a previous article about humans and birds being friends with even more chat if you’ve time to kill and like Maggies.
    Here's the ABC News version of the article https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-...vice/100851458
    regards from Canmore

    ian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Charlestown NSW
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,576

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Yeah you can't really harm them by providing food.
    Well actually you can. They are (in their native environment) an Insectivore. So their diet mainly consists of insects etc.
    The problem that arises is when people (thinking they are helping the birds) give them meat. Like most wild animals they will never knock back a free feed. However if their diet contains a lot of meat they can end up with a calcium deficiency (as well as other minerals and vitamins) which can lead to a condition called "metabolic bone disease" There is an interesting read here for those who are on facebook. My wife (being a wildlife carer for about 10 years) can give chapter and verse about this.
    They are certainly a smart bird. Apparently the European or northern hemisphere Magpies have evolved from ours.
    Also if you make friends with a Magpie they will remember you for years and can recognise different people. As can Butcher birds. There is a family of Butcher birds that live in the trees near one of the buildings I work in at work. They know me as I always gently say hello to them when I walk past. Up until last year I had never been swooped by them. Last year during nesting I walked out to my car with a face mask on and the little bugger swooped me. Didn't connect but I felt the breeze. He was lining up for another run but when I pulled my mask off he recognised me and aborted it. Then sat on a branch and looked at me as if to say sorry.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Mackay North Qld
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    The mob were back today and checking around the dogs dishes.

    Not that my two mutts are ever guilty of leaving food in their bowls, they vacuum up their tucker and then check out each others bowls.

    However there are spilled dog food pellets that fall in the slab expansion joints. The magpies were extracting the jammed pellets. Seven maggies today,so a couple were missing.

    Also they rocked up yesterday when I was placing kitchen waste in the worm compost bins. I cover the worm cast surfaces with coconut fibre mats and sometimes a few worms are present in the mats. The birds were straight onto to mats and picking out the worms.

    I too talk to the birds, I thought it was just me and I happy to know that there is someone else.

    Matey the cockatiel definitely does not like them .I can tell by his call/shriek- its quite different to any type of call I have heard him make to date.

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