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We have all sorts of beautiful birds in our backyard: finches, wrens, quail, robins, and they all seem to get along just fine. We enjoy watching them and feeding them. But now a group of magpies has settled in the area and chase the birds away from their feeders, and will even divebomb our dogs if they get too close! Any idea on how to chase the magpies away but without killing them and to ensure that the rest of the birdies stay?
Nicole from Ontario
I had a similar problem with magpies and squirrels eating the largest portion of the birdseed I left out for the little birds. I was filling the birdfeeder every 3 days and spending a lot of money on seed.
Finally, I went to Walmart and found a silo shaped feeder made out of plexiglass (or some sort of thick plastic). It has several ports in it that only small birds can access.
The crows and magpies don't even try. I only have to fill the birdfeed every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the time of year.
Note: I tried using the thin plastic silo feeders which worked for a while, but were eventually torn apart by either the squirrels or magpies and crows. It's worth spending the extra money ($30.00) to get a sturdy one.
Now all I have to do is try to figure out how to keep the magpies out of the suet feeder.
We have this problem as well and the folk at our City (Calgary) helpline recommended the following (humane) options.
Keep a loaded water gun handy on the deck and shoot the birds whenever you see them. (Pellets or scatter shot from other types of guns could harm neighbours.)
Plant marigolds. Magpies are averse to strong odours. Scatter moth balls around your yard.
Ask your butcher for scraps and lace the meat with hot peppers or pepper spray. You may wish to do this only when you can keep an eye on the bait to ensure no other animals or small children come in contact with it.
I found that hanging CDs on the clothes line (so they can spin in the breeze) keeps them away. The reflected light scares them, and does them no harm.