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Australian Native Birds - Australian Magpie Facts and Myths! Do Magpies Mate for Life ?

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Peter has been a birdwatcher since he was a young lad. He loves to share images and stories about Australian birds!

Magpie Male

Magpie dad looking great in black and white

Magpie dad looking great in black and white

Magpie Female

Magpie mum with her slightly greyish back

Magpie mum with her slightly greyish back

Australian Magpie

The Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white bird native to Australia.

The Australian Magpie should not be confused with the smaller Magpie-lark (Mudlark/Murray Magpie/Peewee in the other States of Australia) (Grallina Cyanoleuca)

Although slightly larger The Australian Magpie is more closely related to the Butcherbird.

Australian Magpies would be regarded as a medium size bird measuring from 37 - 45 cm in length and when in a song have the most beautiful of 'warbles' of any bird I have heard.

Magpies being omnivores are never short of food and we often see them fossicking through the cut grass for fresh food.

Magpies spend a lot of daylight hours on the ground and they are also unusual in the fact that they walk and run, one foot after the other, not hopping or waddling like a lot of other birds. These birds are quite territorial and usually stay in a family group.

Australian Magpie

The Australian Magpie should not be confused with the smaller Magpie-lark (Mudlark/Murray Magpie/Peewee in the other States of Australia) (Grallina Cyanoleuca)


Mudlark not to be confused with a Magpie

Mudlark not to be confused with a Magpie

Do Magpies Mate for Life ?

Magpies generally mate for life, although the alpha male generally has more than one female with which to mate and they live as a type of family commune.

Australian Magpie - Quick facts

I find the Australian Magpie one of the most intriguing birds that I have studied. I have listed below some interesting facts about this bird:

  • Magpies are actually from the same family as the Butcher bird (Cracticus torquatus) and not related to the Pied crows from which they got their name.
  • They are highly intelligent
  • Magpies generally mate for life , although the alpha male generally has more than one female with which to mate and they live as a type of family commune.
  • They are very territorial and will fight with other Magpies to keep there neck of the woods. However they will share their space with other species without a problem.
  • Unlike other birds they walk fairly upright and do not hop or waddle like most other birds.
  • In a sporting sense the most famous (arguably) and hated (without question lol ) football team in Australia is Collingwood and they are called the Magpies due to their black and white colored jumpers.

The Baby Magpie

Over the years I have developed an affinity with Magpies and have a certain love of the way they live their lives. Some years ago now a family of Magpie adopted our back garden as their home and over a period of time they learned to trust Oliversmum and me.

We started out earning their trust by putting out small tidbits of minced meat for them to eat. To digress just a bit. If you do decide to feed birds never put out so much that they become dependent upon you and lose their natural ability to gather their own food.

This family of Magpies, there was only Mum and Dad at the time, would come down every day and take the food; becoming so tame that they would eat out of our hands and trusted us so much they would even come into our enclosed back porch.

We could see their nest high in a Cyprus Pine tree and as soon as we opened our door the Magpies would glide down and land gracefully on our lawn.

The first Spring came and we realized that the Mum Magpie had laid eggs and was involved in the incubation process. After the hatching, we could see that there were two hungry mouths to feed and both Mum and Dad Magpie were busy gathering food for the two nestlings.

Update September 2012

The baby magpie that you see in the nest high in the tree is at our estimate only 1 week old, if you look closely it's eyes are not yet fully open. However, it is already strong enough to be demanding food from Mum and Dad Magpie and they are being run ragged keeping up supply.

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Although we can't make it out as yet we have an idea that there may be another magpie hatchling in the nest. BTW the nest is about 40 feet up from the ground!

This baby magpie about 1 week old is already demanding food from Mum Magpie and Dad Magpie

This baby magpie about 1 week old is already demanding food from Mum Magpie and Dad Magpie

Magpie coming in for dinner

Magpie mum and dad queue up for dinner.

Magpie mum and dad queue up for dinner.

Tragedy strikes in Magpie World

After a few weeks the task of getting the nestling to fly was at hand for the parent Magpies!

The first Fledgling to leave the nest was no problem it came down and landed very clumsily and got up and looked for cover and over the next week or two became quite proficient at flying.

The second Nestling however was not so fortunate. It did not leave the nest for quite some time and we did not realize until later that it was carrying an injury.

It was hiding in the bushes and was very hard to see as Mum and Dad Magpie were very protective and would not let anyone near to the two fledglings. They would collect the food from us and then go and shove it down the fledgling throat. (Literally)

When it did come out of hiding we could see that it was limping and one of it's wings was hanging down lower than normal. We were hoping that with the help of Mum and Dad Magpie it would soon come good.

It did not take us long to come to the conclusion that things were not improving and that sooner rather than later something would have to be done for this poor Fledgling.

So we mapped out a plan to try to rescue this poor little bird and take it to the Veterinary Clinic (In our state Veterinary Clinics will treat wild animals free of charge).

We prepared a cardboard carton big enough to accomadate the bird and packed it like a nest. Next we had to wait until Mum and Dad were distracted and then just pick up the bird and put it in the carton. Sounds easy... Right? Wrong, we were not counting on the maternal instincts of the Mum Magpie!

Picking up the baby Magpie was not the problem, it did not struggle at all and fortunately for me, knowing how hard Magpies can attack, I had put on a thick jacket and a reasonable hat.

In the 20 metres or so that I had to walk from picking up the baby the Mum Magpie attacked me all of the way. Grabbing at my head and arms and pecking at my face. Fortunately for me no damage was done.

We then took the baby to the Vets for a complete inspection. The prognosis was not good. The bird had a severely damaged wing and leg (probably caused by falling from the nest ) and the Vet told us that it would never fly or be able to perch on a branch and was surprised that it had survived for so long.

There was no way that this bird could ever live in the wild and the decision was made to humanely euthanize the baby magpie.(Magpies are not allowed to be kept as Pets)

Oliversmum and I were both terribly upset for the Mum and Dad Magpie and they seemed to be fretting themselves. It took about a week before things got back onto an even keel and they resumed taking feed from us. By this time the surviving baby Magpie was also queuing up for its food.

Magpie Shower Time

Magpie cooling off in the Veggie patch!

Magpie cooling off in the Veggie patch!

Magpie - Baby, Juvenile, Male, Female ?

Telling the difference between baby Magpies and their Mums and Dads can sometimes be a bit difficult?
Baby and juvenile magpies have a darker bill than the adult magpie.
It has been reported that Magpies can live up to 30 years and as the magpie ages it's bill starts to whiten leaving a dark blueish section at the point.
Picking the gender of a Magpie is not as easy?
In our neck of the wood, the Magpie male is a larger bird and usually more dominant and aggressive.
If you look at the back of a male Magpie the 'white' part of his back is almost pure white whereas the female Magpie has a more mottled 'white' section.

Magpie Female - Identify

Female magpie has bill turning white indication some age and mottled back indicating - female

Female magpie has bill turning white indication some age and mottled back indicating - female

Magpie Young - Identify

Magpie juvenile, approx 12 months old showing a dark blue/blackish bill. Some scratches are showing due to either fighting or scavenging for food.

Magpie juvenile, approx 12 months old showing a dark blue/blackish bill. Some scratches are showing due to either fighting or scavenging for food.

Magpies Love them or Hate them?

Welcome to the 'Magpie Nut' Club


It has absolutely amazed me just how many people have enjoyed an experience with a family of Magpies.

I, and I'm sure, our other 'Magpie Nut' club members, would love to hear any anecdotes you would care to share.

If you have a story to tell, or a question to ask, about a family or individual Magpie just scroll down to the 'comment box' and leave a comment. You will get a response, guaranteed :)

Magpie lover - a visitor from NSW

We have a guest report from a fellow "Magpie Nutter" (said with respect):)
Her name is Robbie Anne and she hails from a beautiful part of Australia just outside of the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.

Robbie Anne is a regular commenter on the Hub and has kindly sent in some lovely images of her cat which is affectionately called "Andre-Alice-Audrey-Taeko" ( I will let Robbie Anne tell you why in her own words)

"He was originally just André, however he took on the names of my other cats after they passed away."

For now, we will call her cat "Taeko".

Taeko on a regular basis shares space with her Magpie friends!
Robbie Anne tells us and you will also see in the images I have posted, that her cat Taeko and her family of Magpies have a very friendly relationship and often share afternoon-tea chit-chats!

Robbie Anne has given her magpie family some great names and here is a list:

  • Dad magpie is Dumbo
  • Mum magpie is Rachael
  • Juvenile Magpie is Cecil
  • Juvenile magpie is Cecelia
  • then we have Camilla, Parker, and Bowles

No prizes for guessing where those names originated :)

Robbie Anne, I hope I have got the names correct? If not let me know!

Anyway enough of the talking! I hope you enjoy the images and if anyone has a Magpie story or image that they would like to share please get in touch with me via my profile page:)

Thanks to Robbie Anne for taking the photos and agreeing to share them with the readers at Hubpages:

Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park

Taeko and Dumbo (the Magpie )

Taeko and Dumbo (the Magpie ) devour their brekkys :)

Taeko and Dumbo (the Magpie ) devour their brekkys :)

Dumbo (Magpie) and Taeko

Dumbo (Magpie) and Taeko enjoying afternoon tea :)

Dumbo (Magpie) and Taeko enjoying afternoon tea :)

Taeko and Dumbo

Taeko and Dumbo : to share or not to share?  That is the question?

Taeko and Dumbo : to share or not to share? That is the question?

Rachael (Magpie) and Taeko

Rachael (Magpie) and Taeko ... hmmm

Rachael (Magpie) and Taeko ... hmmm

© 2011 Peter


Peter (author) from Australia on April 14, 2018:

Hi there Bev and thanks for the story on your Magpie family. The old boy 'Chick-Chick' is getting on in years, from all my research the natural life span of the Australian Magpie is between 25 and 30 years. Though in my experience the older Mapies don't remain the Alpha bird for that length of time, so your old boy is doing pretty well :)

You may be right about the old Mum Magpie being pecked to death. I have two thoughts on that.

1) The younger females in my experience usually leave the family group and find a non-related male ( probably a natural instinct to keep the line pure) In your instance the stronger young female may have challenged the old Mum and won the fight (survival of the fittest so to speak)

2) My second thought was that a wondering raven or crow my have come across the family and the female Magpie may have died protecting the younger Magpies?

In my area these birds are enemies as the Crows/Ravens steal from the nests of all other birds,eggs and new born chicks.

Horrible to think but I guess they have to eat!

It looks like your Miss Possy should be called Miss Bossy. Our local Magpies are used to being fed by we mere humans and do not swoop on us at all. Yet only a little way away you have to be careful at breeding time.

Well Bev thanks again for sharing your story on your Magpie family and we would love to read any updates you would like to share.



Bev on April 14, 2018:

We have had the same Male Magpie for nearly 25 years. His name is 'Chick-Chick' because he is so big! He is onto his 3rd wife and from my observation, the 3rd wife seems to be his daughter from the last batch. Mum was still around and mysteriously found dead on neighbours lawn, looking very much like it was pecked to death. Is it possible that this was a conspiracy between father and daughter so they could begin a relationship together? We have handfeed him and his wives with mince all this time. Love the carolling. New Miss, named Possy, swoops on the 2 kiddies riding their new bikes on our footpath and it is not any where near breeding season. Do you see any sense in all this please?

Peter (author) from Australia on January 26, 2018:

G'day @ Phillip Tullio thanks for the great story about your family of Magpies :) It's interesting that they enjoy water melon . I have never tried feeding our Magpies in that way !

LOL on your 22 Magpies on GF day on 1990. It looks like the Magpies will have to wait another 32 years for another premiership! What do you think ?

At least my team the Tigers got the monkey off the shoulder last year !

Our little Toy Poodle 'Oliver' just sits and watches when we feed the Magpies and waits for his share. He does not get any because he is on a special diet and does not eat anything that the Magpies eat.

Thanks again for the story and I'm sure the readers would love to catch up with any updates about your Magpies that you my care to share.

Cheers Peter

Phillip Tullio on January 25, 2018:

I have a new family at present Mum, Dad, older baby and a newer baby, still being fed. I feed them various things. Nuts , chopped up dog food pellets which they love, water melon I’ve just discovered and they forage, drink and bathe in my bird friendly yard. They all now eat from my hand and are totally unafraid but my Mimi foxy is jealous and barks and chases them but they aren’t scared of him. I had a very large mob back in 1990 and the morning of the grand final I opened the back door to find exactly 22 magpies waiting to be fed their favourite meal in peanuts. I had to cut them up of course. Collingwood went on to break a 32 year premiership drought that day

Peter (author) from Australia on August 09, 2017:

Hi Dianne and thanks for the great observation and share ! Magpies are very clever birds and will do what they have to do to get their 'Prey' into the correct size. I have seen them break the bread into smaller pieces (btw bread is not good for Magpies) and rub it into the dirt to soften it up for their babies. Magpies will also eat the bread themselves then 'regurgitate' the bread and stuff it down their babies throat.

Magpies are a very interesting birds to observe. They have many traits similar to we humans !

Dianne on July 31, 2017:

Today I saw a magpie put its foot on a piece of bread and break the bread using its beak. It then ate the pieces. Is this normal behaviour for a magpie?

Peter (author) from Australia on September 21, 2016:

@Lorraine Butler

Hi there Lorraine :) what a great Magpie story one I will remember for some time :)

It is very enjoyable to watch Magpies build their nests, hatch their chicks, gather food for the new born.

Then watch with great trepidation the antics of the Magpie chicks as they take their first flying lessons !

As a matter of interest this afternoon, on my way back from my afternoon walk, I discovered a new nest being build by a Mum and Dad Magpie so it looks like Spring has really Sprung :)

You have found out by your own experience just how territorial Magpies become ! It amuses me that they only seem to reject other Magpies, I have seem them actually share food we have put out with birds such as Wattle birds and Lorikeets.

I wonder if you have put out a bird bath for the Magpies ?

I hope you have the time to keep us up to date with your very own Magpie story :)



Peter (author) from Australia on September 21, 2016:

@ Teresa, Hi Teresa my sincerest apologies for taking so long to answer your very disturbing post !

It is a shame that so called 'progress' must interfere with our native life !

Unfortunately Magpies are not an endangered species so I believe that the Authorities would more than likely tell you that nothing could be done to protect the birds habitat ?

Magpies are renowned for being very territorial and it is my opinion that if the birds were not nesting at the time of the trees being felled they would soon find a new home close to where they were located.

Our own experiences in the past lead me to believe that your Magpie family will find a new tree to rebuild in and soon come back to renew their friendship with you ! They have long memories :)

I hope that you come back and read my reply and can let us know some good news about your Magpies ?

Peter (author) from Australia on September 21, 2016:

@Rob, Hi there Rob, sorry I have not replied earlier to your post :(

I'm wondering if your situation has changed since you posted ?

In my experience I have found that the Male Magpie is the one that is 'banished' from the flock as, very similar to us humans, having two Alpha males in the household is not good for the harmony of the family !

Also the female birds are usually kept around to learn the skills of being a good Mum such as feeding the nieces and nephews as they arrive in later hatching's !

Of course I may not be right lets know what you think of my explanation and how your family is growing !

cheers Peter

Lorraine Butler on June 14, 2016:

Hi, I live in West Brunswick Melbourne. We have been feeding a family of Maggies for about a year now. There is a huge gum tree in our neighbors backyard where this family had a nest last season. We watched the mum and dad build the nest and raise 2 babes. Now they come morning and night on to my husbands shed to be fed fresh mince. They sit in the trees calling and I walk outside and whistle and they come down. This morning suddenly there was 5 on the shed. Very quickly my 4 swooped this interloper and moved him on. They then all warbled in unison, obviously making my yard and shed roof as "their" territory.

When they had finished eating, the dad came right over to the edge of the shed and "eyeballed" me warbling clearly telling me "don't feed him". It was hilarious. I will be interested to see if he returns.

Peter (author) from Australia on May 01, 2016:

@Ron firstly let me apologize for the tardiness in replying to your great Magpie post :)

Secondly... what a beautiful story :)

Well I guess Harry can be male or female ? However in my experience the female Magpie is much more 'timid' than the male bird, which makes me think that your Harry is a male Magpie?

I'm not sure of the accuracy of this observation in that the Male Magpie has 'pure white' back feathers but the female has a 'scalloped' look on the back ! Check out some of the pics up the top ?

Also in my experience the Magpie family (when you get one and I'm sure you will lol) only has one 'alpha' male and more than one female bird ?

It is a lovely feeling when the Magpies come and have a chat with you and treat you like a friend, they seem to be the only birds that have this trait :)

Ron thanks for sharing your Magpie anecdote with us and please if your Magpie does have a family feel free to drop in and keep us informed :)

Peter (author) from Australia on April 30, 2016:


I hope that you accept my apology for the delay in replying to your marvelous Magpie story :)

(and I won't hold it against you for being a Pies supporter. I did actually want the Magpies to win that Grand Final. There's a first time for everything. lol)

It never fails to amaze me when reading stories similar to yours just how trusting the Magpies become of we 'humans'!

There is nothing quite like the feeling that you 'get' when you hold your hand out to a 'wild' animal and they trust you enough to come and take food from you! It does feel great...

I am sure you agree with me that we do carry a heavy responsibility on our shoulders when we take on the 'task' of feeding our feathered friends.

You are indeed lucky to have inherited a family of Magpies and I'm sure that they will give you years of the sort of enjoyment that many people would never experience.

Thanks again for sharing with us your Magpie tale.

I and I'm sure our many readers would love to hear the next installment of your Magpie adventure...

Peter (author) from Australia on April 30, 2016:

Firstly I would like to apologize to all the 'commentors' on this Hub about the Australian Magpie for my delay in replying to comments that they have left! Now with some 'broadband width' I will get down to replying from the oldest comment on to the latest ! Thanks for your patience :)

Teresa on April 16, 2016:

Hi, so glad I found this blog, I have to go to the top and re read it all again. I read what you wrote but didn't read all the comments yet. I have a problem. I too love magpies and have a family living right near me and we have been looking after each other for about ten or so years now. I live on a service road on a main road and there is a strip of grass separating the service and main road. BUT NOW they are going to widen the main road and that is the problem. The strip of grass has ten gum trees which is where the magpies live and they are all going to be cut down for the road extensions. I am very worried what will happen to these birds and I voiced my concerns but only to fall on deaf ears.

What will happen to these birds when their home is gone?

If the birds relocate, will they come back to see me?

Is there anyone I can go to that will help these birds keep their homes?

Rob on April 08, 2016:

I have a family of 5 Magpies - Grannie, an Alpha Male, a younger male, his Sister and an 18 month old Female who got all of her black adult plumage about 3 months ago.

The young female has been missing joining the others for breakfast for the past 3 days and I was wondering if they have forced her to move to another flock as she is now an adult and if she stayed and was to breed it would further weaken the gene pool?

Ron on February 27, 2016:

For about 3 months a young maggie has been visiting us. Seems to be a loner and other maggies give it a hard time. Not sure if its male or female, but I call it Harry. Only have to call his name and comes running across the yard for his feed. Now hops straight up on to my knee and feeds from my hand. Can stroke his breast and his feet. Next step touch his back but so far not much luck. a real character - will stay with me for some time and then off. Sits on the kitchen window sill for hours and likes us talking to him through the window. great liittle mate.

Mario on February 17, 2016:

I have a biased affection for our Black and White feathered friends,being a pies supporter.

My first meeting with them was 5 years ago when 2 Magpies appeared in my back yard about 1 month before the 2010 grand final.

I had a spare meatball that I fed them and the rest was history.

Everyday they would return as I ventured my back yard.They would watch from the tall trees in a school behind my house.

The female got so used to being fed that oneday it walked into my lounge room to my surprise giving me that stare of "well are you going to feed me?"

After a few days of just walking in and trusting me,i was able to feed her straight out of my hand. Meanwhile with all this going on,i thought it was a good omen that Collingwood would get to the finals and grandfinal and win after 20 years.

Guess what??? They did :-)

A couple of weeks later a baby magpie appeared with the parents and the cycle continued until a few months later I observed the father pretty much pecking the young one during feeding to move on and get on with your own life.

They stayed around for a few months and disappeared and happily returned about 1-2 years later.

Last year i moved onto a 3 acre property and was happy to be told by the previous owner that they have 2 regular magpies staying almost 10 years now.

Last September /October the parents showed up with 1 newborn,to my surprise a couple days later #2 shows up!

Now I have 4 magpies to feed whilst my cat sneaks up to them hoping for an easy feed of them.

Luckily the maggies are smart enough to keep a safe distance from puss and I think puss is slooowly getting used to them being there....but he can never be trusted and I have to keep watch.

That's my story so far...........

Peter (author) from Australia on December 28, 2015:

Cornelia I have percieved a structure in the Magpie world very similar to human 'families' with the Dad Magpie being the leader and the little Magpies following along behind while Mum and Dad Magpie gather the food to be shared out. We were watching them just today and Oliversmum fed them some treats and they shared it among the whole family! Great to watch :)

Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on December 22, 2015:

Thank you for this awesome hub, Peter! I love magpies but did not know so many facts about them especially that they mate for life. And sorry about that little one that had fallen from the nest.

Peter (author) from Australia on October 30, 2015:

Hi there @ashroc and thanks for sharing your Magpie story :)

And a very interesting story at that !

In all my years of experience with Magpies I don't think that I can ever remember two Dad Magpies feeding the baby Maggies?

Might be a sign of the times lol

I have seen two female magpies feeding the young but no not two Males!

It might (and only guessing here)be that one of the males is an offspring of the ''alpha'' Magpie and has not yet left home!

Just a thought on the Mince that your Dad feeds the birds. If they are being feed every day with the mince he might like to add some things to help with the the Young magpies growth as they may be missing out on some Nutrition that Magpies need to grow strong bones and beaks! You can check out the recipes above or:

Thanks again for the visit and lets know how your young Magpie is getting on?

Jen Wood from Australia on October 29, 2015:


My Dad feeds magpies with mince in his backyard and has been doing so for over a decade. He has recently observed a baby magpie being fed by 2 dad magpies and one mum magpie is this common?

Peter (author) from Australia on October 13, 2015:

@Linda thank you so much for your lovely comment and also welcome to the Magpie Lovers Club :)

It is a great Magpie time over here in Gippsland as our resident Magpies have just had their babies and they are entertaining us most of the time!

Occasionally we do help them out, especially when the ground is dry, as it is a continuous job feeding the chicks but only until they can start foraging for themselves !

As far as where they roost in the wild winds ?, I would say you are correct as I have been told by a number of people that when you are deep in the heart of a large tree it is quite calm, it just 'sways' a lot !

I can't verify that though, my tree climbing days are way behind me. lol

Thanks again for your comment and look forward to more updates on your own Magpie family :)

Linda on October 13, 2015:

We recently moved to tassie from Perth WA and in both states we have had the pleasure of a family of magpies taking residence in our yard. Our place in tassie covers three acres most of it wrapped around the house and we love watching the fun and games the magpies get up to. Thank you for your web site your comments on their behaviour tallies with what we have observed, with both parents helping the new young once they can land on the ground and the male especially is a fierce prptector of them. We occasionally feed them in winter when the weather is cold and windy and often wonder how they can survive the wet cold nights. Do they roost in specially dense trees on very windy nights?

Regards linda

Peter (author) from Australia on September 15, 2015:

Lisa, you are very welcome and I'm sure others as well as myself enjoy reading about how our beautiful Magpies enhance we humans lives!

It would be a sad old world indeed if we could not get out in the fresh air and communicate with another species placed on this planet to share it's natural beauties :)

I'm not sure if birds 'think'/ 'behave' in the same logic patterns as we humans and sometimes we just have to 'go with the flow' and enjoy their company while we can!

Recently our other native birds, especially the Wattle Honey Eaters have been building nests and breeding and are behaving very aggresively toward other birds that they normally tolerate! Forcing the other breeds, even the Magpies to seek safer ground.

Maybe something like this has occured in your area and the Magpies have temporarily relocated :)

Mum and Dad Magpie could also be sharing nest sitting duties until their eggs have hatched ?

Now that Spring has Sprung the nest building around here has really kicked in and I have noticed quite a few on my daily walks.

One interesting nest is the Swallows nest made out of all sorts of things held together with what looks like mud ?

Lisa thanks for the update and please let's know if your Magpie friend returns, it would be a shame to lose contact with him :)

Lisa Nicholls on September 11, 2015:

Thank you so much for your response and also for the warm welcome into your group! :)

You may be correct, I never actually considered that. That would definitely explain the reason that the younger of the three magpies seems much more confident than the other two!

The only thing that still baffles me is what happened to our original pair?

My partner and I were quite sure that we were actually feeding the alpha male and female as they were quite aggressive towards all other birds, including their own baby once they'd had enough of him.

The big male stood over everyone for food, even his own partner! And the pair of them attacked every crow, currawong or other magpie that came anywhere near our yard, but now we just don't see them anymore.

The male magpie was a great bird... so much personality! I used to love when he would sing his magpie song at my kitchen window while trying to peek through the curtains.

He was also quite fun to play with - I would throw food up into the air and he would jump up and catch it.

He even got to the point where once he'd had enough to eat, he'd sit in the grass in front of us and just hang out. I miss him! :(

How is your little magpie family going? :)

Peter (author) from Australia on September 11, 2015:

@Lisa Nicholls, great to see another Magpie lover and welcome to what we loosely call the Magpie Nutters Club :)

From our own experience your Magpies are pretty much doing what Magpies do :)

I feel generally speaking that there is usually only one Alpha Male in any family although we have found that females or Aunties as we call them can hang around and help in feeding the mothers younger chicks.

That is until the 'Aunty' Magpies decide it is time to start raising their own chicks and then they go searching for a good healthy male who has been 'kicked-out' of their own family, due to the Alpha thing!

The consensus seems to be that they do not 'in-breed' as they have an inbuilt sense for the 'Survival of the Breed'

In answer to your last question! My feeling is that it is more than likely one of the offspring returning with a new family !

Magpies have a good memory for good deeds as well as bad and they may be just 'breaking' you in to their new family who have not got familiar enough for 100% trust!

Keep up the good work and I'm sure that before long they will be taking food out of your hand.

Lisa, Please keep us up to date with you Magpie Family :)

Lisa Nicholls on September 09, 2015:

Hi there! After much searching, this page is exactly what I've been looking for!

I too had the pleasure of befriending a magpie couple who have been coming to our house every day for about a year now.

We did the exact same thing that you did as far as feeding the birds minced meat and the male even became tame enough to hand feed.

Last year they introduced us to their baby and about six months ago they kicked him out of home.

Recently the female disappeared and returned about a week later. She would fly down to get her mince, break it up in to tiny little pieces and fly back and forth to a big nearby gum tree (obviously to feed her new chick(s).

She did this for about a week, then both the male and the female completely disappeared for about two weeks.

Now we have two magpies that visit our backyard, but they don't seem to be the same ones? They seem very scared and unsure, almost like they don't trust us.

Occasionally they have a baby with them, but it doesn't seem like a new baby as it doesn't rely on them for food, or make a sound.

Do you think that we are feeding the same birds, or do you think this is a different family of magpies?

I'm not sure what's going on!?

Peter (author) from Australia on August 23, 2015:

@Nathan you raise a 'great' point and I would like to explain that "the decision to humanely euthanise the baby magpie" was not arrived at quickly!

The Vet and I had quite a discussion about the best cause of action and he even called the Wild Life authorities to get their suggestions !

It all happened too long ago for me to remember the exact details but I do still believe that we came to the right conclusion!

I am not a Vet myself and hold no Medical degrees so I had to rely on the Vets advise that the young bird had too many injuries to fend for itself.

The advise from the 'Professionals' was that the parents would not tend to the young Magpie (survival of the species ) and it would more than likely be ostracised from the family and be left to end it's life in a very unsatisfactory manner.

Nathan thanks again for dropping by and raising this 'ethical' question ?

Peter (author) from Australia on August 23, 2015:

G'day there MagpieMatty and a warm welcome to Australia :) I hope you are enjoying yourself up in Brisbane!

Sorry I have not replied earlier, however I sure enjoyed reading your Magpie experiences.

I am envious of you being able to play the guitar and I'm sure that the Magpies love the sound.

I believe that it is wise move to not overfeed as you don't want the Magpie to become reliant on you for their nourishment.

It looks like you have really got the 'nack' to being a good 'friend' of our feathered friends and I hope that you keep up the good work!

Thanks again for sharing your encounters and please keep us up to date on your newly acquired Magpie family ???

Nathan on August 22, 2015:

Love the article and so glad to read about your experiences with these creatures. I am saddened to read that "the decision was made to humanely euthanise the baby magpie" as I feel this was not yours of the vets to make. It should have been taken back to its parents to do what magpie parents do in these cases. What was the reason the vet and you decided that what you thought/wanted to do was more important that what its parents wanted to do?

MagpieMatty on August 06, 2015:

Hi there agvulpes! I'm new to Australia from New Zealand, currently living in Brisbane. I had my first encounter with a family of friendly magpies less than a month ago. The dad would quite frequently wonder around the lawn, waiting for me to stir up bugs in the garden. After a couple of days, the mother would join and they would gladly take food from me, even recognizing when I would come outside. This morning as I walked outside, I heard a loud carol and felt mum magpie flutter past me, feeling the breeze from her wings. That's when I noticed dad magpie was hovering on my right side, briefly landed on my shoulder then touched down to the ground. I've had frequent dealings with this family. They have a young one that joins them on my lawn. They greet me and thank me for food every time they see me, even responding to my poor whistling attempt. They've become quite accustomed to me playing guitar outside and will often try to out sing me any chance they get. Being cautious not to overfeed, I've become rather attached to these birds and have fallen in love with another nearby magpie family that share my lawn with the original 3. Reading your blog was incredible, and I'm so very sorry to hear of the loss of the youngling.

Thanks for the good read :)

Have a good day

Peter (author) from Australia on July 21, 2015:

G'day Belcaesar and nice to read your great story!

The Sun Conures are sure a beautiful bird. I'm not familiar with them , they look like they might be 'talkers' ?

Greg and yourself seem to have found the ideal careers and I sure do wish you well in the Aquarium ! Are you anywhere near SeaWorld by any chance?

I'm sure that you will make a great foster Mum to your chicks and I suppose by now the feathers are well on the way?

I have noticed our Magpies have started the nest building process so I guess that must sense that winter is drawing to a close and Spring is just around the corner!

Belcaesar on July 19, 2015:

Hi Agvulpes,

Well, still no Maggies but I am now a mum to three very very young Sun Conures. No feathers but a lot of cheek

They are gorgeous, I do love my birds but I so wish we had the Maggie for support. Things have changed a lot. Greg and I are both now working at the same place at a huge major produce store near us. Hence the Conure Chicks. I am the Manager of the aquarium section. I am now breeding fish for the store as well..... So I have an awesome job now as well as mum to some very vulnerable chicks.

Still waiting for my maggies...... wont give up

See you guys later

Peter (author) from Australia on July 19, 2015:

@missmypinetree nice to read your update!

It is a bit like a 20 something son living at home, there will soon be a challenge to 'who is the alpha male' lol However I think the Magpies have a more 'civilised' way of sorting out their differences :)

Good to hear that old bumpy leg and family have 'resettled' now that next doors cat is gone!

We also see the Magpies gathering sticks and stuff for their nests might be an early spring this year?

Last season was not a good season for baby magpies here either, from memory there was a lot of Kurrawongs around and they just love to steal the eggs from nests and attack the very young babies :(

Oh we should feel sorry for the Blues shouldn't we ? Nah only joking lol Go..... Tigers :)

missmypinetree on July 17, 2015:

hello ! well my baby magpie was fine a few nights ago in all that rain .. but i'd been seeing less and less of it and have since read that juvenile magpies can be forced to leave the group or just leave anyway as early as 8 months old !! :( .. which is about the baby maggies age .. depending on how the adult of the corresponding sex feels about it (so mean) lol .. anyway they have my yard to themselves now (next door moved and took their cat lol) bumpy leg and co. have taken to basically standing at my front door again .. and they're back to nest building lol .. i just hope that they can get more of their babies to survive .. we lost two out of 3 last season :( dogs and cars .. anyway yes tigers for the flag this year ! and i did film some carlton supporters leaving early that night .. cheeky me ! lol

Peter (author) from Australia on April 04, 2015:

@missmypinetree I'm glad that you still have your family of four Magpies!

As far as when does the baby stop crying?

Hmm... my guess is when you stop feeding it and 'force' it to rummage for it's own food :)

That good old Bumpy Leg is doing really well and seems to be quite the Matriarch. She has a real dynasty going there doesn't she ?

There will always be an Alpha Magpie it is the only way to ensure the survival of the Species!

I hope you enjoyed the game the other night? I sure did on the TV!

I have yet to see a Magpie lose a fight with another bird , they even chase the much bigger Eagles and Pelicans away from their territory !

Cheers for Now :)


missmypinetree on March 31, 2015:

I still have one baby .. so there's a little family of four. Ive refrained from posting on here for fear of 'jinxing' them lol.. last time i posted the 2nd baby was hit...

Um Agvulpes ? when do the baby cries stop ? lol .. that baby bird has me well trained lol..

There's an Alpha male in the family though he's quite nasty to the baby .. I've seen the baby magpie lie down in submission etc.. for the poster that was asking ..because of his/her Alpha male parent .. and Bumpy Leg is definitely the Mum

Happy Magpieing and guess what Agvulpes I will be at the G Thursday night GO TIGES :)

I don't see many eagles around here but the seagulls sure upset my Magpies.. and lose lol

Peter (author) from Australia on March 13, 2015:

G'day @Kitty what a great story to share with other Magpie lovers and I'm sure that we would all love to see the photos of them sitting on your Partner's boots :)

It's great to hear that you are only giving them snacks as we do try to talk people out of the idea of feeding the Magpie too much! They become reliant on getting the feed and loose the 'knowledge' to forage for their own tucker. Plus we may not be giving them the correct nurishment that they need ?

Sorry I don't mean to preach :)

If you want to send me some images to share I can always post them onto this article?

Kitty...Thanks again for sharing your lovely story :)

Kitty on March 11, 2015:

we have a lovely family of magpies who visit everyday. One cheeky young fella will even 'knock' on the front door with his beak. We do not feed them everyday as there are a lot of young and do not want them the rely on the daily feedings, however my partner does 'talk' to them everyday. I have photos of him sitting on the driveway surrounded by up to 15 maggies. When he feeds them, they perch on the toe of his work boots and even sit on his knees and take there food!

Look forward to hearing the cheeky young one everyday knock on the door and have a crunch at any cat biscuits that may be left over!

Peter (author) from Australia on March 09, 2015:

@belcaesar wow you do have quite collection of 'animals' on your property !

I'm not too sure but I would think that the Magpies being 'grazers' would not appreciate being the 'prey' for snakes, lizards etc.. :)

The tiny birds may be finches ! If you are lucky they may also be Fairy Wrens and if you are very lucky you may get some Superb Fairy Wrens !

Do they fan out their tails?

Speaking for myself and I'm sure our other Magpie Nutters would love to read your children's books about Magpies so let's know how it is progressing?

Cheers for now :)

belcaesar on March 09, 2015:

Hi Agvulpes and Nutters

Still no Maggie family to love yet..... we have a lot of reptiles around this area as well as tiny tiny birds that look like they are from the finch family. The reptiles range from a python under the house, two tree snakes, four water dragons and a huge monitor lizard, its a little bigger than the average goanna as well... not sure what time of lizard it is but it is huge.... the myna birds go crazy whenever they see one of these. I wonder if this could be keeping them away......

I have started writing about magpies in the eyes of a child and a childrens book .... I would love to share it with you Agvulpes when I am done. Thanks again for everything..... Still hoping to lure my maggies


Peter (author) from Australia on March 07, 2015:

@Midge first of all lets all thank you for sharing your Magpie tale and welcome to the growing family of Magpie Lovers :)

There are two thoughts that came into my mind about your Magpie family not turning up:

1) They got a better offer somewhere else, the mince might have tasted better :)

2) They may well be busy building a nest ? Who knows you may have a new member of your family before long?

Lets hope it is the later and I'm sure my readers and myself would love it if you would keep us up to date ? Please :)

Midge on March 07, 2015:

Aaaand never mind, they actually showed up tonight! Perhaps they were just being fickle, although I don't know why they'd skip a treat that is basically guaranteed!

Midge on March 06, 2015:

I've been feeding my local pair of magpies for just over a month. Mr Magpie quickly learned to recognise me and the little plastic ziplock bag that his treats (a couple of small chunks of lean mince, once a day) came from and soon became confident enough to take food out of my hand. The Missus was a lot more wary and always stayed about 2-3 metres away. I also enjoyed seeing Mr Magpie teaching the how to find food late last year!

I'm getting a little worried as I haven't seen them in about 4 days. This doesn't sound like much but you could set your watch by them, landing in the backyard and carolling for treats at around 8am and/or 6pm. I still hear magpies carolling in the morning and sporadically throughout the day. Occasionally seen a lone female swoop straight through the backyard; if it's Mrs Magpie that seems a little unusual as she and hubby usually hang out together.

I've tried putting out little morsels of meat on a white tile in the backyard and the food always disappears after a few hours but I've no idea if it's my magpies or something more sinister, like some unwelcome pigeons! Any thoughts/ideas on why they might suddenly stop visiting after being offered delicious little meaty morsels every day?

Peter (author) from Australia on January 30, 2015:

@Jennifer what a great question and I wish that I could give you a definitive answer :)

I have seen Magpies do exactly what you describe but only when it is extremely hot !

Have you seen how a dog will dig and roll around in the dirt to find some cool spot, I think the Magpies do it for the same reason ! They also seem to 'pant' similar to a dog!

I have also heard about the 'ants nest' theory but to be honest I don't put much credence in the story.

Many times I have watched Magpies take multiple baths and then 'preen' themselves, it's my opinion that this is how they look after their personal hygiene :)

If you come up with any other possibilities drop by and let us know

Peter (author) from Australia on January 30, 2015:

@Claire yes the magpies have a way of 'selecting' a family don't they ? I reckon that it may be ESP or something like that ?

Ah Montgomery what a great name for a Magpie, very General like the way they march around !

Oh yep the Magpie are very protective of their young as I have found out many times and they hate the Currawongs!

I believe it is because the Currawongs will steal the eggs of the other birds and given half the chance will even eat the babies ?

We are Magpie nutters as well and sit on our deck watching them fossicking away all day for food and teaching their young to do the same!

Well I wish you luck following the Dees I'm a big Tiger fan myself, very disappointed about the finish last year but as 'they' say " There's always next year" lol

Claire thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm sure all of the other Magpie Nutters would love to keep hearing updates ?

Jennifer on January 23, 2015:

Can you tell me why Magpies lay flat out in the garden, "playing dead"? I have read conflicting reasons - laying on an ant's nest, so the ants can clean the feathers of lice and mites - and because it's a way of relaxing into a "trance-like" state. I'd be interested to hear some facts. Thanks.

Claire on January 19, 2015:

I've loved reading ur story. We seem to have a family of magpies to feed wherever we are.

We have just moved and have made friends with Montgomery his better half and baby...

We have also noticed a pied currawong flying around but Montgomery won't let him down for a feed... Which I'm happy about. It appears that I might be birdist??

I do remember a time while living at home with mum and dad that one of baby magpies got hit by a car and dad tried to see if it was ok but the dad magpie kept swooping him and wouldn't leave the baby alone. It was like he was in mourning.

Years and years would would have the same magpies have new baby's and there was usually only 1 surviving baby... I think once there were 2 babies.... They are beautiful creatures if u give them the time. I'm absolutly a magpie nut - but I barrak for the dees!

Peter (author) from Australia on January 16, 2015:

@Mel g'day to you and welcome to the Magpie Lovers Club !

I commend you for looking after our feathered friends and these birds are very adaptable and seem to be able to cope with any 'handicap' thrown at them.

I have seen a few Magpies with damaged feet handling things ok but I have never seen one with only one leg!

My concern is that Magpies actually 'walk' like humans (one foot after the other) and do not hop! and may not manage on one foot making him easy prey for predators !

The twine / cotton may not 'biodegrade' and strangle the growth in his foot and I am of the opinion that this bird should be 'helped' but only in a humane way of course :)

Is the young Magpie showing any sign of distress like picking at his feet etc. ?

Maybe you can entice it into a 'friendly' trap to cut off the bonding material?

Lets know how things turn out :)

Mel on January 15, 2015:

I have been feeding a family of magpies for over 12 years with the mail being able to hand feed. He has a broken beak with the top half missing, but amazingly does quite well. I have a question regarding one of their babies who has been coming down for around 4 months. I have discovered he has twining or cotton wrapped around one of his feet and and would like to know would he survive on one leg if i cant catch him to remove it.

Peter (author) from Australia on December 28, 2014:

@Tassie Girl , sorry for the delay in replying but I have just recovered your comment from the 'Spam filter' :(

It looks like you have indeed 'acquired' a new family of Magpies ?

It may take a while (maybe never) but if you keep persisting by putting out the 'traditional' Magpie treats you just may attract the new Magpie family down to your Garden!

Or on the other hand by doing the same thing your 'old' Maggie family may just one day appear from nowhere :)

So either way keep trying and never give up , :)

You have one advantage in that you have the Butcher Birds, Rosellas etc., to keep you company :)

We hope that you had a great Christmas and look forward to reading more about your Magpie friends in 2015 :)

Tassie Girl on November 29, 2014:

Hello again, well I thought I had some good news for you. I arrived home yesterday afternoon and saw a male maggie sitting on one of the fence posts down the end of the paddock. I raced inside so excited and onto my front deck and I called him and called him, but alas he never came to me. I went back inside and picked up my binoculars and saw him fly away. I followed him with the binoculars and saw him land in a tree, then 3 others arrived. I thought yes, it is my maggie family, plus a new baby. I called them for about 5 minutes, but they still did not come to me and eventually they flew away.

I do recall a few months ago now that my 3 maggies were defending their territory against 4 other maggies, by chasing them away. Now I think about it, and have seen these 4 maggies not 3, do you think it is possible that these 4 maggies were successful in taking over the territory of my maggie family, and pushing my family out. Maybe if this is the case then my family might come back and regain their territory.

Every morning and afternoon when I arrive home I put out their favourite food, mince meat, plus bread and wild birdseed mix. My butcher birds, miner birds and rosellas still come for the food every day, but I really wish my maggie family would return home to me.

I will continue to call them and hope that one day soon they will hear my call and come back home.

Peter (author) from Australia on November 28, 2014:

@Tassie Girl it is reassuring to know that your neighbors are not the kind of people to stop Magpies from coming around.

The other possibility is that, and I really hate saying this, they have found another place that they prefer? I have seen Magpie families here that alternate between different houses until they find a 'preferred' place and will stay at that place until they are 'enticed' somewhere else?

If this is what has happened, don't dispair and as the old saying goes "Don't get made get even" and fight fire with fire lol ( well not exactly fire)

Try putting out special treats like 'mince meat' (just little bits) and any other treats that you can remember the Magpies enjoying.

You could try mixing up the recipe mentioned above, Magpies really love it?

I still have not been able to find one case of a whole family of Magpies just 'disappearing'

I sure hope that your adopted Magpie family return to you soon !

Cheers for now :)

Peter (author) from Australia on November 28, 2014:

@Belcaesar G'day there :) Telstra sure has that love/hate thing going don't they. lol

Unfortunately for us up here in the sticks we don't have many choices and they are the best of a not so good bunch ?

I'm surprised that you have not been able to attract any Magpies, just a thought have you tried putting out some raw mince beef to lure them over :) Don't want to drag in the vermin though!

Your Pepa and Odie sure sound like great characters and very friendly, except to the Mynas of course lol It could be the Mynas have taken 'possession' of your property but I would have thought that at worst they would co-exist or the Magpies would be a more powerful breed to drive out the Mynas ?

We are fortunate down here as we don't have the Tick problem however we went for a drive today to visit Lake Tyers were there are Ticks and had to check Oliver thoroughly when we got home!

We have got ourselves a great little Magpie Nutters club here and the stories from all around Australia about our great Magpies are fantastic :)

I sure hope you are adopted by a 'young' Magpie family in the very near future!

Cheers for now :)

Tassie Girl on November 25, 2014:

Thank you Agvulpes so much for your reply. I have had the same neighbours all the time I have been living at my home. I believe most of the people who live nearby know that these are my maggies as I am sure they hear me calling them each morning and if they looked closely they would see them fly down to me.

I have been of the same opinion as you that if my maggies had more babies, they would indeed be visiting more often for more food. My heart sinks every morning and night when I call them and they don't come down, and to think that they may infact be hurt somewhere and I can't help them. I miss them terribly.

Hopefully you find out something in your research or maybe one of the other magpie lovers can help.

I will let you know the minute they return to me. It will be a glorious day when they do come back to me.

Belcaesar on November 25, 2014:

Hey Nutters and Agvulpes

GOTTA love Telstra. I think I could rely on a crow to steal food more than I could rely on Telstra to get communication right.

Still no Maggies.... Went back to the old house to do some work and the Maggies followed me everywhere. Unfortunately I did not have any tidbits to give them. A few days later I went back and remembered to take something. At the moment Pepa is being amused by a Water Dragon that sits on the bottom of our pool every time he sees her coming. He has a beautiful red throat and breast. If he cant see Pepa he comes up for a nibble on cheese... not sure why this is his favourite. Pepa does not hurt him but she is a formidable dog to something looking up. My other dog, Odie is forever chasing Asian Mynas off the balcony.... Odie was hospitalized for ticks and we nearly lost him. He is back but a whole lot slower at the moment and the mynas seem to know it. I cannot get rid of them and just wish they were Maggies,

I have taken down some Bamboo between us and the bush and hope that will bring them in more... For your question Agvulpes. We don't have a dam but there is a trickling creek behind us that only ever trickles as we are very very high up the hills. No doubt a trickle will be more when it rains. I can see the maggies in the trees and I can hear them call so I am forever hopeful... Could it be the Mynas that are keeping them away you think? Anyway, I have caught up on everyone stories and they are fantastic. I am jealous.... lol ... Keep up the good work x

Peter (author) from Australia on November 25, 2014:

@Tassie Girl it looks like you are well and truly entrenched in the Magpie Nutters Club :)

I believe that Magpies do have a way of understanding / communicating with we humans, if we take the time to listen and observe their behavour !

Hmm... ok lets get down to the serious matter of 'where have my Magpies gone' ?

It seems to me that you have done everything right and on the surface it surprises me that the 'whole family' just up and disappears at the same time.

Just putting out some observations here: If they have had babies it is my experience that they would be around all the more looking for food for the baby Magpies?

It's almost 'unthinkable' but do you have neighbors that may not like Magpies and do something to facilitate their removal ?

I can't think of much else that would cause them to up and leave so I will leave it open to our other readers.

Maybe someone else has had similar experiences and will fill us all in on the outcome?

In the meantime I will do some research of my own and see what I can find out!

So chin up and maybe in the morning they will be there to wake you up with their beautiful Magpie Warble :)

Tassie Girl on November 21, 2014:

Hi, I have just discovered your wonderful site and find it comforting to learn that I am not the only obsessed magpie lover around.

I have been feeding my mum and dad maggie now for 7 years and they have become very tame with daddy maggie eating out of my hand. In the mornings I go out and call them and they both fly down for their food. They even wait for my car of an afternoon and guaranteed, by the time I am inside, they are waiting for their food. If I am late rising out of bed on the weekend, they come and sit outside my window and call me until I go outside, have a chat with them and feed them.

Each year they have had babies and brought them down to meet me, I feel very special that they trust me enough to do this.

I have not seen my maggie family now for 4 weeks and I am getting quite worried about them. They have just disappeared, I call them but they don't come to me, and I can't even hear their beautiful call. I know it is breading season, could their absence be because they are looking after their new babies? I can't recall them ever staying away like this over the last 7 years. I live on a property and there are no busy roads around my property, so it is very unlikely that they have been hit by a car.

I hold out hope that they will surprise me one morning (hopefully soon) with their new little babies and all will go back to normal. I miss them so much, they brighten my day. Daddy maggie and I have built up a special bond and I am sure that when we are talking he understands what I am saying to him.

Hope to hear from you soon.

I always thought that once magpies have found a home, they don't leave?

Peter (author) from Australia on November 06, 2014:

@missmypinetree. I agree with @Oldbeakie !!! and hope your Magpie family can settle into a routine life style! What a predicament :)

I'm glad you cleared that up for me, I'm really sorry if I offended you with my comment :)

It is so hard with Magpies, just when you think they are the smartest they up and do things that are 'instinctive' and put themselves in harms way.

I can relate to how you feel , I felt like a 'kidnapper' when I 'rescued' our little Magpie baby with the broken wing. :)

It took quite some time for me to come to terms with that incident :(

btw on the bright side I witnessed another 'dog fight' today between an Eagle and a Magpie and would you believe a Plover !

The Eagle was not impressed and left in a Hurry. lol

Missmypinetree I hope you hang in there I'm confident that in the long run it will all work out well for the Magpies and yourself . Cheers :)

@Oldbeakie thanks for dropping by do you have any updates on your Magpie family ?

Oldbeakie on November 06, 2014:

Missmvpinetree, I am very sorry to hear about what has happened. I feel your anguish and send you and your magpie families love and healing. Xx

missmypinetree on November 06, 2014:

and just to add..the one that was hit wanted to be back over the road in the double property with trees that it knew/knows.. it was in pretty good nick for a bird that was looking pretty much dead on the road with its parents about to get hit also (they were freaking out) ..and for some dumb reason i just didn't want to be the one that took their baby away .. as i said..they were watching me .. saving him/her for my enjoyment was so not on my agenda

missmypinetree on November 05, 2014:

i wanted to take it to the emergency centre .. i had phoned them .. if it was going to be okay a carer would have apparently taken it til it was better and if it wasn't going to be okay.. well .. you know the rest..i just felt sick .. i had all 3 adults watching me while i cradled it lol.. and as for the seagulls ?? im near the beach .. if they want to outnumber the maggies they will.. they took last years babies from a smaller tree.

and *sigh* i don't hold out much hope.. i just saw a baby's a hopelessly slow flyer and its following them back and forth across this busy road.. if i still had my pine tree there would be no going back and forth surely .. and i agree with you about taking it to a professional ..i really needed a cup of concrete the night that happened . i can only pray it doesn't happen again :)

Peter (author) from Australia on November 05, 2014:

@missmypinetree ahhh... the things that we do for our 'feathered friends' :) I'm surprised that the 'adult' magpies did not 'shoo' the Sea gulls away from the area... they are very territorial sometimes even to their own peril :)

I sure hope that the baby survives? Some times putting them to 'sleep' turns out to be the kindest way to treat them.

We have to consider "are we saving them for their benefit or for our own enjoyment" ?

It's my opinion that as far as medical treatment for Magpies go I am no expert and would much prefer to have them in the hands of a Professional in the field! (Just my opinion though)

Your last comment is heartening, you may still have a Magpie family. Lets hope !!!

missmypinetree on November 05, 2014:

oh wow i just heard a baby !! :)

missmypinetree on November 04, 2014:

no need to apologise i myself didn't log back in here til Monday just gone. I managed to get a picture of one of the babies on Monday and i logged in here to try and post it .. but Monday night one of the babies was hit by a car (i heard the commotion) .. i picked it up off the road and it 'came to' .. parents were swooping me and i was in many minds about what to do .. in hindsight i should've taken it to the AEC..i was very distressed and thinking it would be euthanased was managing to hop up the tree to as high as the fenceline .. but in tending to that baby i think the seagulls got their other baby and after speaking to a neighbour there were apparently three babies but she thinks dogs may have got the 3rd one a few weeks back.

i'm so upset at not hearing their beautiful cries anymore ..thank you for letting me vent i know i can't save the world but im still very down .. whale watching ..that sounds beautiful.. i think i've seen enough seagulls though .. take care all of you magpie lovers .. there's always next year :)

Peter (author) from Australia on November 03, 2014:

Hi there @missmypinetree and sorry for being tardy with my reply.

Oliversmum and myself have been up in Merimbula doing some Whale watching and what an experience that is !!!

Great to hear the news about old Bumpy Leg you are sure collecting a lovely family of Magpies.

Just about all of our 'baby' magpies have developed into healthy juveniles, one had a bad accident with a car :(

On the bright side though, I witnessed a 'dog fight' between a Magpie and a very large hawk (Whistling Kite) and the magpie drove the Hawk away, not once but three times!!!

Hawks although beautiful birds are 'hunters' and will easily capture a baby Magpie as prey. I know that they have to eat but why don't they 'hunt' for field mice and such other vermin :)

missmypinetree on October 19, 2014:

lol @ good old bumpy leg .. and to think i came here because i was worried about her leg injury a couple of years ago .. yes she's resilient .. well there ARE two babies lol .. so i now have a family of five !! :) they're almost fully fledged ! and i've read that the adults only feed them for four weeks then mostly ignore them ? i can't imagine bumpy leg ignoring them though haha

and @ linda..asking if they're mostly ground dwellers ? i'm sure they would be if they could be but they can't be around here .. they're in a rented property over the road but they have dogs :( and of course there's the odd stray cat .. bumpy leg has raised her babies high in the tree tops and this year they've made it ..yayyy

and @ agvulpes soon ! i get my new phone delivered tuesday !

anyway enjoy your magpie families .. i will keep you posted !

Peter (author) from Australia on October 14, 2014:

Hi @Linda, welcome and it's great to hear that you have a Magpie family to enrich your life :)

What you have described sounds pretty much what I have experienced myself.

Yes the Chicks hobble around on the ground as their 'fledgling' feathers have not grown sufficiently enough for them to be confident to fly.

It's a bit like a baby learning to walk.

We know they can but they have to 'feel' that they can themselves?

However the Magpie chicks are quick learners and it should only be a couple of days before they are taking short flights !

Please let's know how the little Magpies are handling their new life :)

Linda on October 14, 2014:

Hi we have had a pair of magpies nesting in our front yard. Over the weekend they left the nest and have managed to stay alive 3-4days so far. I understand they are ground dwellers until their tail feathers grow enough to be able to fly. One baby is very strong and perched on a twig. Granted I haven't seen it leave it's perch yet! The other two hobble around and been huddling in garden beds. My question is are they supposed to be able to walk yet? They hoble around and use their wings to hop along the ground.

Peter (author) from Australia on October 13, 2014:

@Oldbeakie I agree that missmypinetree must be having a lovely time with her family of Magpies.

It's great to hear that you have your 'Special Time' with your feathered friends and I'm sure that they also regard it as special?

As I have said to missmypinetree you are welcome to submit some images through email, as an attachment and I would be happy to post some into the above article similar to how I have included our other Magpie loving friend 'RobbieAnne' with her Magpie friend and Taeko, who sadly has 'passed away':(

So until next time, have some great fun time with your Magpies.

Cheers for now

agvulpes (Peter)

Peter (author) from Australia on October 13, 2014:

@missmypinetree it is great to read about your menagerie of the various 'animals' and isn't it great to see how the different species, if treated right, can get on together so well!

Good old Bumpy leg she has come good with her family, these birds are so resiliant and will bounce back from just about anything that nature throws up at them :)

btw: If you have have any pictures relating to your Magpies and would like them included in the article for people to see by all means submit them to me via email attachments. with some explanationory text to go with the images!

Oh you are so lucky having a Ring Tail Possum and baby in residence, lets hope that they become part of you family !

Well we can't wait to hear what your Magpie friends have got up to and would love to see the images ?

Oldbeakie on October 04, 2014:

That's beautiful missmvpinetree. Thank you for sharing. I would love to put photos of my magpies on the site, but I don't know how to add a photo. Could anyone help me with that.

I'm sitting out the front feeding all my beautiful feathery friends and loving it, this is my special time and I am so grateful for their presence.

Enjoy your long weekend (labour day Monday).

Lol di xx

missmypinetree on October 04, 2014:

well i saw one baby yesterday ! maybe there's only one ? it's quite big ! it was sitting in a gum tree lol ..they were also being protective of it and feeding it etc.. when i got home from work it was still sitting in the same spot but today its moved back into the elm (well i think it's some kind of elm) so bumpy leg is finally a Mum again !! hooray ! after two years of no babies..hopefully they are now a family of 4 or 5 .

I've tried to take some pictures but they don't trust me with the camera lol .. and i did see the beautiful pictures posted of Taeko the Cat with it's magpie friends :)

I still have my stray black and white cat *eyeroll* .. my blind in one eye possum .. and a couple of days ago I was clearing my guttering .. i heard a noise in the tree above and sadly I'd disturbed a beautiful little Ringtail Possum with the tiniest baby on its back .. they must live in my roof ..It's a menagerie but i wouldn't have it any other way ? lol

Peter (author) from Australia on October 04, 2014:

@missmypinetree... wow that wind sure was something wasn't it ?

We copped a bit up here but my son said it was very very bad in Melbourne.

I hope that not too much damage was done to your property and Magpie family ?

Our little guys, we have noted 4 so far, are progressing along nicely and Mum and Dad Magpies are naturally being very protective of them !

missmypinetree on September 29, 2014:

ooh grated cheese ..that's a bit cheaper than mince ! Hello Agvulpes are my (i call them mine too haha) fledglings supposed to survive this Melbourne mini storm ?! :( ..

yes there are babies i see and hear them them hopping about in the high high high canopy of a very unsuitable tree .. the previous two years they've barely made it out of the this year ? this awful wind :(

i only pray i can hear their beautiful 'mag mag mag' cries in the morning..or when this horrible wind settles.

Peter (author) from Australia on September 27, 2014:

G'day @Bluetrain and thanks for sharing your love of Magpies with us here:)

From what I have read the problem with 'mince meat' is the preservatives that are added , not good for the birds apparently!

Grated cheese seems to be OK in moderation however most 'experts' try to educate us to only give our Magpie Family only treats and not let them become reliant on us for food.

I know some people that were feeding their Magpie friends twice daily every day and now they have gone on a round Australia trip for 8 months and the Magpies have to learn to source their own food and adjust their diet :(

If you are interested I have included a link to a recipe for a well balanced diet for Magpies and other birds:

Once again thanks for sharing with us and we would love to hear some of your anecdotes on your Magpie Friends

Bluetrain on September 26, 2014:

Hi there. I am in Camberwell in Melbourne. I have my own family of maggies (well I call them mine). They are up to their 4th generation. I feed them mince meat & other bits & pieces but their favourite is grated cheese. I hope I am doing the right thing when I give them the cheese. Even the Wattle birds like this particular delicacy. I love seeing the magpies wipe the grated cheese on the ground as if it were a worm or similar.

Peter (author) from Australia on September 26, 2014:

@William I must preface my comment by stating once again that "I am not an expert" !

By my observations I see the same thing as you with the Magpie cocking its head to one side then dig its beak into the ground and pulling out a worm.

This is what I think happens:

As far as I can ascertain Magpies have the senses of Sight, Hearing and Feel. My guess is that their senses are more 'heightened' than those of we humans?

So with a combination of these senses the magpie can feel the Worm moving through the ground with it's feet and by focusing its hearing can pinpoint the hole where the Worm is going to emerge from and with it's head cocked to one side can focus its 'eye' (like we do when aiming a camera )on the hole for it to plunge it's beak into the ground to grab the unsuspecting worm.

William thanks for the great question and I hope this gives you some sort of explanation?

Peter (author) from Australia on September 25, 2014:

@Oldbeakie I could not agree with you more there is nothing we can gain by dwelling in the past, learn the lesson and move on !

Looking forward to hearing about your 'babies'.

It seems early but we have spotted a couple of Magpie babies around here already !

Oldbeakie on September 21, 2014:

Thank you Peter, you are right, magpies are so resilient. I think us humans need to learn a little from our wild life species, thus being the ability to let go of hardships and move on without guilt or blame, there's a lesson to learn in that.

Thank you so much for your support.

Lol Oldbeakie xx

PS looking forward to the babies!!

Peter (author) from Australia on September 16, 2014:

@Oldbeakie Hi Di thanks for the update. It looks like 'life' has moved on doesn't it :)

The survival of the species is a huge 'urge' in every animal and I'm sure Dad magpie is only doing his 'bit' to keep the Magpie breed going strong!

I'm sure it will not be long before the 'nest building' starts and the sound of baby Magpies will be heard before Christmas :)

Cheers and lots of happy times with your new family of Magpies :)

Oldbeakie on September 15, 2014:

Hello, just wanted to give an looks like dad magpie has returned with another female mate, the sad side is that I haven't seen old beakie since dad's return. It's only the two of them, and they come every afternoon for dinner. Sending love and safety to old beakie. I have my wonderful memories and snap shots. Thank you for your support. Lol Di xx

Peter (author) from Australia on September 13, 2014:

G'day David and thanks for dropping by :) I will have a look at your Blog and see how your Magpies are going !

Peter (author) from Australia on August 09, 2014:

@missmypinetree thanks for that information :) I would love to share some magpie photos with our readers ! Robbie Anne has sent in some of her photos with her cat Taeko and the Magpies see above in the main body.

The Tigers are on the charge lol I fear a bit too late for this year though :)

@Oldbeakie thanks so much for keeping us up to date, more people like yourself and Missmypinetree are needed to safeguard our feathered friends:)

Oldbeakie on August 08, 2014:

Thank you very much Agvulpes (Peter) and missmvpinetree,

I am very grateful for your responses and caring nature. I will wait for him to come back, in the meantime I will care for my two feathery companions, and the rest of my bird family.

I will keep you up to date too.

Lol Oldbeakie (Diana) Bridgeman Downs in Brisbane QLD

missmypinetree on August 08, 2014:

@ old beakie that is sad.. i live on a fairly busy road that even has a bus route i'm surprised that one of mine hasn't been hit *touch wood* .. and a couple of years ago i had four magpies that has since become three .. but i see quite a few magpie families around here so it's possible that the males do take off to start new families ?

@ Agvulpes .. the possum is a little brushy i have a photo of him/her i will try to upload it soon .. i will also try to get a pic of my magpie family ..they've been quite demanding lately lol it MUST be nesting time ! .. And i do hope the Tigers win tonight .. but who knows they're unpredictable ! .. it's not a game i'd like to be at lol it will be feral !

Peter (author) from Australia on August 06, 2014:

@Oldbeakie first let me thank you so much for sharing your Magpie story. It would seem that the Magpie Nutters Club is growing :)

You are most fortunate to have had such wonderful experiences with your extended family of Magpies but sadly like most families, animal and human, it is only 'good luck' if we do not have some 'misfortunes'.

I don't think that I have ever seen a Magpie as old looking as your 'Beakie' he does seem to be a grand old man of the Magpie family ?

I'm also surprised that the Magpies 'tolerate' the Butcher Birds, who have a tendency to steal the unhatched eggs for their meals ! Sad, I know, but we must all eat to survive, Right?

Very saddened to hear of any bird being 'killed', especially losing the Matriarch of the family and I understand just how traumatic this must have been for you and your family.

Now in reply to your question...

Unfortunately I can't give you a definite answer on whether dad Magpie will return but I could offer a guess ?

Here are a couple of scenarios I would consider :

1) He to may have been hit be the same car, Magpies do fly close together and he may have been able to fly away and is laid up injured somewhere?

2) He may have realised that his female companion Magpie is no longer 'around' and is off looking for another 'mate'!

I hope that the second is the case if so he may just turn up one day with a new female Magpie by his side !

However whatever happens I'm sure that your kindness in looking after the Magpies, you have cemented your place in their memories. :)

OldBeakie thanks again for sharing and please let us know of any developments in your Magpie Story :


Agvulpes (Peter)

Oldbeakie on August 04, 2014:


I'm new to hub pages, I really loved your magpie article and I was wondering if you could help me.

I am another magpie (all animal) lover and we moved into a house where the previous owners had been feeding magpies for many years prior. We continued this ritual and would feed them once a day with raw mince and have been doing this for approx. 3 years. We've seen babies come and go, but unfortunately there is a road between the two properties that their territorial boundary is, and some babies have been hit by cars. It's terrible and effects me greatly. However the 3 main adult magpies have always missed the cars, we call them mum, dad and beakie ( beakie is the granddad, he has grey feathers around the tops of his legs and has a limp when walking and has a cracked beak. He still fights off other birds like the kookaburras, but it's funny the magpies allow the black and white butcher birds to eat with them.

My question is, just over a week ago, mum (magpie) was hit by a car and killed. Our whole family has been devastated by the accident, but dad (magpie) has not returned. I think of him everyday. We have laid mum magpie to rest in a special part of the garden where they would always play and eat. I believe mum magpie had a baby girl, beakie and baby girl have been visiting every day for their meal. Will dad magpie come back?

Thank you for listening, I really hope he returns. Xx

Peter (author) from Australia on August 04, 2014:

@missmypinetree Yep never underestimate a wounded Magpie . Yay Go Tigers :)

I'm sure glad to hear that the little Magpie with the bad leg has come good !

Up here the Magpies have been gathering 'stuff' for their nests already ! Looks like we are in for an early Spring so don't give up just yet :)

Just gotta love those cute Possums, BTW is it a Ring or Bushy tail ?

I have not been to a footy game for years I think the last one was when the Tigers beat the Blues in a Final LOL That's how long it has been lol

I don't like the way the guys are having the little bouts of 'brain fades' looks like a lack of discipline.

Just as an add on to your comment, on Sunday I was lucky enough to see a Magpie drive away an Eagle! He was protecting his Territory and some juvenile Magpies that were in the trees.

missmypinetree on August 03, 2014:

@Colleen not from what i've seen .. my magpies have done everything they can to save their babies's just they're not finding the right tree :( .. i looked out my kitchen window last year and saw so many seagulls circling that i knew the magpie babies had no chance :( .. words can't describe how i felt ..

missmypinetree on August 03, 2014:

Hello Agvulpes .. well the Magpies just won (and i'm a Tigers supporter remember haha) .. the commentator said 'never underestimate a wounded Magpie' .. ain't that the truth ! .. I still have my 3 magpies lol even little miss with her bumpy leg that healed just nicely ..i still recognise her though because of the slight bump .. sadly they've not added to their nest since my pine tree was cut down but they're hanging in there !! I'm sorry i've not posted sooner but i now have a little possum that comes just before dusk every night lol he/she is blind in one eye :( ..not quite an adult yet ..loving our Aussie babies lol ..oh and by the way I managed to make it to the G last nite to see a game ..go Tiges !

Peter (author) from Australia on July 25, 2014:

@Colleen Logie first of all thanks for dropping by and letting us know about your Magpie experiences. They sure are great birds aren't they ?

From my experience with Magpies I would suggest that they are very similar to Human families in that 'generally' there is only one 'alpha' male !

Survival of the species means that the other males leave home (or are pushed out) , find a non-related female and start their own family.

The female Magpies on the other hand do seem to stick around their own parents ,waiting for a searching male Magpie to come and whisk them off to start the above mentioned family.

The females also help out ( a bit like human aunties do ) with the new batches of chick Magpies as they come along (maybe 2 breeding seasons a year)

As a lover of Magpies we have to learn to let go :) and nurture the family that is left behind.

Colleen as you have already discovered there is a lot of trust involved in this process and at time some 'broken hearts' but in the end I'm sure you will say "It's been well worth it " :)

Cheers : Agvulpes

Colleen Logie on July 24, 2014:

Hi, I'm wondering if you can enlighten me? I've been feeding a family of magpies for over a year, when the babies were little things being fed by their mother and whinging constantly. I guess they have now reached puberty, and have done so coming in and out of the house if the door was left open. One even sat on the couch with me!

the father bird has been progressively violent with pushing one of them away when he came to my door to be fed. (I called him Bashful, cause he was very shy after having a fishing line wrapped around his leg, which I eventually removed) He would still sneak over when he thought nobody was looking, but I haven't seen him for a week. Now his sibling has disappeared as well.

Do the parent birds kick the kids out of the territory when it is time for a new batch? I'm confused and missing my babies, and fairly sure they haven't been killed on the road.

I miss their serenades lol

Peter (author) from Australia on May 28, 2014:

G'day Belcaesar nice to hear from you again, I had started to think we had lost you :) I agree with you about Telstra ( Australia's largest telephone company who once had a monopoly on communications and still owns the copper wire network) Your new house sounds great with a much wider variety of birds to share your life with :)

The Tawny Frogmouth certainly is an interesting bird and I'm sure that when you start putting out the food to attract some Magpies they will appear very quickly!

From what I have read I might ask the question if you have a dam close by? If you do , come spring you may start seeing some Herons and Ibis !

That video is amazing I don't think I have seen anything like it and do appreciate that Laura shared it with us Nutters here :)

Once again! Nice to see you back and look forward to more of your Magpie / bird tales :)

Cheers Agvulpes :)

Belcaesar on May 27, 2014:

Hey Nutters and Agvulpes

Well, Finally a new house and internet, which took a lifetime of convincing Telstra. hmmm don't get me started. We are still completing the old house to get it ready for tenants but I miss the old birds. My new house has the most wonderful sounds of whip birds and the bush but our house is just a little too high on the hill and a little too far from the bushy trees at the moment for the birds to be tempted.... however, I have the most wonderful pair of frogmouth owls that sit on my pool fence every day and sleep in the shade of the palm trees. How wonderful they look. Out the front I have the contrast of ducks nibbling at my grass.... but no maggies to keep me company yet. I watched the video of little one year old. Wow, what a wonderful experience .... How amazing is that. Anyway, I am just so excited to have connection back so I will talk to you later. I have just read all your amazing stories. You all make me miss my family even more.... Good Night Nutters... Belcaesar x

Peter (author) from Australia on May 12, 2014:

@Laura I have watched your video with mouth wide open lol

It took me a while to get my head around the fact that the Magpie was allowing your young son to do the things he did. Then it dawned on me:

If the Magpie did not enjoy the interaction it would just fly away. Right ?

To enable more people to see your video (if it is OK with you) I will embed it into the body of the Hub rather than have it buried in the comments ?

Laura : Thanks so much for sharing your Magpie story :)

Laura on April 30, 2014:

this is a video of a magpie whos been around my neighbourhood for the past few months and has become best friend with my 12 month old son! its been the most beautiful relationship to watch! Enjoy

Peter (author) from Australia on April 13, 2014:

G'day Shar-on17 and thanks for dropping by :)

I agree with you that Magpies are beautiful and friendly birds !

I would also add that they are intelligent and misunderstood.

Some people don't bother to take the time to understand that we are invading their space and when a Magpie swoops it is only protecting it's family and territory... I don't have a problem with that at all :)

We would miss our family of wild magpies as we interact with them every day :)

Sharon from Perth on April 13, 2014:

Wow it was a long way down to get to the end of all the comments. These are such beautiful and friendly birds.

While crossing the Nullabor we were hand feeding these and a couple of babies too.

The make great pets and companions too although you already know that. Great hub. I love bird hubs.

Peter (author) from Australia on February 08, 2014:

G'day Leanne, it would appear from what you have said that the old rule: 'Survival of the Fittest ' has prevailed!

Your 'older' female with one eye and her young brood would be no match for a fit and healthy bunch of Males looking to set up in a new area.

Having said that , I don't think you should worry too much, I'm sure that she will find a new 'home' and you will soon become friends with this new group.

We all have to remember that these Magpies are wildlife and for their line to continue to prosper only the strong and healthy should continue to breed.

Leanne thanks so much for sharing your story I hope that you can continue to update us on any progress :)

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