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Old 27th November 2008, 12:38 PM   #1
JoM
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Default Nest Building in November?!

Two of our magpies have recently started taking twigs to their nest, is it normal? I've never seen them do it before, and they aren't normally the type to plan so far ahead!
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Old 27th November 2008, 12:59 PM   #2
PiratesAhoy!
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Some magpies do pair up in autumn/winter, and they may play with sticks and twigs, but I doubt they'd make a proper nest. If they did, it's unlikely they'd make use of it and try to raise young - at this time of year it would be pretty much guaranteed to fail.

Keep an eye on them though! As I say, it's most likely to be a couple of adolescents playing, but if they do actually make a nest... it would be worth studying for sure!
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Old 27th November 2008, 01:54 PM   #3
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The nest is already built, it's the one they use every year. They appear to be patching it up, but I've never seen them do that this early on before!

I can't tell if they're this years young or not as there's only really one magpie we can identify as an individual as he's a great acrobat and is the only one who can eat from all the small bird feeders. Seems to have been a good year for them though, their numbers plummeted here about 3 years ago and suddenly we have about 10-12 again. I know they're not well liked, but if you study them they are really quite amusing
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Old 27th November 2008, 03:52 PM   #4
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For the first time this year I had a young magpie in the garden. He/she arrived complete with parents in tow who stood on the lawn whilst offspring jumped into the birdbath, climbed all over the feeders and generally made a nuisance of himself (had to be male!). As you say, not a popular bird but I must admit to a few giggles at the antics. I think he has stayed around as all the other birds ground-feeding are not wary of him and I presume this is possibly because he is recognised as young and not a threat at the moment.
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Old 15th March 2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Well the magpies have continued to patch up the nest, I think it may be related to an incident with Grumpy Scott (one of the local crows I've been studying for years).

We assume the Xmas magpies (the tree they nest in is an old Christmas tree my friends planted when we were children - "Grumpy Scott" is so called because he's a grumpy old crow who doesn't get on with many other crows and he always nests in the Scots Pine - method in my madness!) raided grumpy Scott's nest and for the next 18 months or so Grumpy Scott pursued magpies aggressively. Chasing them through our garden and shouting at them. Attacking their nest and generally making it well known he didn't like them.

Last year we didn't have too many baby magpies so maybe they've been putting in extra defences, it's possible the nest wasn't patched up properly last year and they lost their clutch.

I am of course, just hypothesising here, they could just happen to be magpies with OCD.

The bluetits started investigating the nest boxes in our garden back in December too. Though in the last month all that activity seems to have ceased
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Old 15th March 2009, 02:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PiratesAhoy! View Post
Some magpies do pair up in autumn/winter, and they may play with sticks and twigs, but I doubt they'd make a proper nest. If they did, it's unlikely they'd make use of it and try to raise young - at this time of year it would be pretty much guaranteed to fail.

Keep an eye on them though! As I say, it's most likely to be a couple of adolescents playing, but if they do actually make a nest... it would be worth studying for sure!
Hi PiratesAhoy!

Been a while since I have seen you on here, so hello to you once more.

Great to hear about the Magpies, and their habits. We only got back from shopping and one was in the bird Bath having a great time bathing itself. The only bit he missed was his long tail LOL
I wish I could have got a picture but no doubt I would have scared him/her off in the process.

No doubt nesting will on a Magpies agenda. The ones residing in our back garden are winding the Blackbirds up at the moment. Mind you Blackies can stick up for themselves away in the face of adversity anyday.
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Old 16th March 2009, 11:00 AM   #7
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Well that post from me was in November I lurk a lot, but don't always post.

Blackbirds are very easily wound up it seems. Around here, if it's not magpies distressing them, it's starlings eating their food for them. They're a bit like prima donnas - all show and too highly strung. It's quite amusing watching a blacky waving his wings around next to a pile of raisins, supposedly defending them from other blackies, and a robin or starling comes down and snarfs the lot from under his nose

I think that's what makes blackbirds so endearing - they're so full of character.
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