How To Effectively Scare And Keep Magpies Away

Are you trying to keep magpies away? Across most of the Northern Hemisphere, and Australia, magpies are a nuisance. They steal food from other birds and animals. They eat garden produce, fruits, and vegetables. They make a mess. They are incredibly smart so keeping them away is difficult, but possible.

How To Keep Magpies Away: Eliminate the attractions to your magpies. They have come seeking food and shelter. You can contain food, remove it, or make it unavailable to magpies. Combine that approach with reflection and sound to scare them away. Finally, one Australian tale solved a magpie problem using eyes to scare magpies away.

You should understand what attracts magpies and how you can scare them away without affecting other wildlife and birds. This can be difficult because of how intelligent magpies are. They are considered by many to be one of the most intelligent birds. Let’s dive in.

Cover fruit and garden produce with nets

Eliminating fruit or vegetables from your garden isn’t practical until it’s time to harvest. Otherwise, you won’t see the benefits of your hard work. However, you can make it off-limits to magpies by covering it with netting. Throw protective netting over your fruit trees. Netting comes in many different sizes and can be cut to fit your plants and cages. 

Cover vegetables and fruit plants with it. Magpies will be able to see the fruit, but won’t be able to pick at it very much. This will help to keep them away as they will eventually have to find another source of food.

How to keep magpies away

Use special bird feeders

Magpies love to hover around bird feeders. The ready, easy meal is too tempting for them and must be eliminated. They are a ready bully so they easily scare away smaller birds. But, that doesn’t mean that you must give up feeding smaller birds. Instead, replace your standard bird feeders with a feeder that is made specifically for smaller birds.

Special bird feeders block squirrel or large bird access by lowering the feeding bar when heavier weight is applied. When the bar lowers, it closes the “door” to the birdseed. This prevents larger birds from accessing the seeds and prevents feedings. Another style of a birdfeeder protects against magpies has a metal casing with holes only large enough for small birds. Larger birds, such as magpies, cannot get in to access the food.

Eliminate bird baths

Magpies are attracted to water, just like any other bird. Get rid of your bird baths, at least while you are fighting magpies. This is an essential step. You should also look for and eliminate any standing pools of water in your yard.

Plus, avoid overwatering your plants. If you have an area of water, such as a creek, canal, or pond, that you can’t eliminate, then scare the magpies away. Add decoys to scare the magpies away. Move them around. We’ll cover that below.

Cover and get rid of food sources

In addition, to produce and birdseed, magpies will eat from the trash can, pet food, and other edible things. Magpies eat both meat and vegetation so they can almost always find an easy dinner.

If magpies gather on your roof, then check and clean your rain gutters. Rain gutters often collect leaves, dirt, and worms. This makes a tasty meal for magpies. Cleaning out your rain gutters can encourage the Magpies to move on. You can use hardware cloth to cover rain gutters. This keeps them clean, while still allowing rainwater to collect and move along the gutters. 

Check other areas of your deck and yard. Don’t leave food out unless you are present and using it.

Move your pet food indoors, or at least into the garage for feedings. Magpies will eat dog and cat food, although they are more likely to eat it when food is scarce or in the summertime. (They tend to search out more plant-based foods in the winter)

How to scare magpies

Use decoys to scare magpies away

There are a number of decoys that you can use to scare magpies away. Scarecrows can be used, but they must be moved regularly.

Make use of your old CDs by hanging them around areas you want to keep magpies out of. The CDs will move and revolve in the wind. The reflection of light that comes off of them is unpredictable and will be fairly effective in keeping magpies away. You can layer CDs.

Arrange CD’s about 5 feet apart in spacing for best effectiveness. CD’s can be hung along your patio roof, in your garden, or in fruit trees. Be aware that CD’s will scare and keep away other birds as well.

Half-full water bottles do a similar thing. The surface of the water reflects and scares magpies away.

Another option is to purchase bird-tape. It’s a product that has a shiny metal surface on one side and a bright color on the other. The tape is twisted so that as it moves, it scares the birds.

Play recordings of predators on an irregular schedule

A recording of a distressed owl or other predators can help to keep magpies away because they become aware that a predator may be near. Recordings will take consistent time from you to adjust the recordings. 

The recordings should be spaced to play at irregular intervals or they will cease to work. Magpies are highly intelligent and will quickly adjust to regular recordings. Consider moving the player around so that the sounds come from different locations. 

Rotate decoys

When using recordings, CD’s, Scarecrows or other decoys, be sure to rotate them. They should be moved and adjusted at least once a week. This will help keep magpies from adjusting to the decoys.  

Use “eyes” to scare magpies

One Australian rumor states that magpies are afraid of being looked at. In places where magpies have grown incredibly used to people, they have been known to attack children’s backpacks. Supposedly, putting large eyes on the back of the backpacks keeps the Magpies at bay.

This idea could be applied elsewhere. Mount painted eyes on tree trunks, your shed, or other places you want to keep magpies away. They may be afraid of the eyes, not because they don’t like being looked at, but because large eyes may trigger an instinctive response. Large eyes often belong to large predators.

Scare magpies away

What will scare magpies away?

Magpies adapt very quickly. They can adapt to people, cities, sounds, smells and even sights. Below are several things that have worked on Magpies. If some don’t work for the magpies you are struggling with, try another idea until you find the right one.

  • Hanging CDs or water bottles
  • Predator recordings
  • Large Eyes
  • Flashing lights
  • Bright colors

Related Questions

What do magpies eat? Magpies eat almost anything. They eat berries, nuts, grains. They will scavenge table scraps, chicken feed, and pet food. They eat meat. They will eat rotten and decaying animals, including roadkill. They will kill and eat small birds, and small mammals. Magpies will eat the eggs and chicks of other birds. They will eat rodents, including mice, voles, and occasionally rats. They will eat worms, mollusks, and other invertebrates.

Why do magpies swoop? The male magpie swoops during the breeding season to protect his young. Once the chicks leave the nest, magpies will stop swooping. Magpies don’t generally swoop at night because they are not active and cannot see as well. If a magpie swoops you turn and face it. That often will divert the magpie away. Additionally, acting threatening toward their young will only increase swooping and magpies can remember individual human behavior.

How do I identify a magpie? Magpies are identifiable by their black and white coloring. However, some varieties of magpies have a blue and green coloring. Still, others are tan and blue with a black hood. Magpies also have a long, wedge-shaped tail. They are medium-sized birds.
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