May 26, 2023

How to Get Rid of Magpies in Your Garden

Magpies are highly intelligent and, from afar, are lovely birds to observe. However, they can cause problems for gardeners, like harassing vulnerable birds such as robins and small songbirds, eating fruits and vegetables, digging up plants and seeds, pulling out nest boxes, and creating a lot of noise.

Because of this, there are plenty of people who ask us how to get rid of magpies in their gardens safely and humanely. 

Luckily, our bird netting experts are here to help and have created five ways you can stop magpies from taking over!

Firstly, Remember Magpies are Protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981

The UK Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) was designed to protect Britain's natural charm and wildlife from deliberate harm under penalty of the law. In terms of birds, this means several things. 

It is illegal to move, damage, or destroy the nest or egg of any wild bird, whether the nest is in the process of being built or whether it is already finished. 

Essentially, if the Magpies have found a home in your garden, you cannot force them out. However, you are well within your rights to try to deter them from coming into your garden to start with. 

Tip One - Hang Objects That Reflect Light

Magpies are startled by light reflections, and this can be an effective method in helping to keep them out of your garden. There are a couple of ways that you can do this. Firstly, old CDs are great at catching and reflecting light, so if you have any, hang them up around your garden at intervals. 

If you haven't got any old CDs to use, then you can buy bird tape either online or from your local garden centre or pet shop.

Bird tape is simply reflective tape that really does the same thing as hanging a CD would, except you affix it to certain areas of the garden, and because it is largely immovable, you will want to think about where to stick it to ensure maximum reflections. 

Magpies Feeding

Tip Two - Cover Areas with Netting Where Possible

The magpies might enjoy your garden because of the food sources that they have found there. If you grow fruit or veg in your garden or you have any other sources of food, then consider laying down some netting. It makes it harder for the birds to scavenge. 

Finding netting is also pretty straightforward; of course, you will need to take some measurements. It would also make sense to consider what you are growing and what type of netting would work the best. Eventually, the magpies will get bored, find another source of food and leave your garden alone.

Huck Nets Recommends:

20mm Multi-Purpose, Heavy-Duty Bird Netting

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Tip Three - Use an Audible Bird Scaring Device

Audible bird-scaring devices are exactly as they sound. They emit noises designed to frighten away the birds. They could be predator bird calls or other loud noises that make them uncomfortable or startle them away. They can be incredibly effective too. 

That being said, birds have a similar range of hearing to humans which means that you are more than likely going to be able to hear the device, too, which could be annoying. Some businesses claim to use ultrasonic waves, but these do not tend to work, or at the very least, they don't work as well. 

Tip Four - Don't Leave Food in Open Spaces

Magpies are scavenger birds; in addition to trying to pilfer some of the fruit and veg that you grow, they will take what they can get. If you have any other food sources, they will be in it. To keep them at bay, you should secure your bins, compost, and anything else that they might eat. 

If you have previously enjoyed leaving out bird seed or having bird feeders out, then, unfortunately, you will need to take them back inside. Magpies are opportunistic, and if you remove their food sources, they will go elsewhere. 

Tip Five - Keep Your Gutters Clean

The debris that can collect in your gutters can also form the basis of a lovely little meal for the local magpies. If you want to keep them away, then you should also make sure that your gutters are clean and clear. 

Keeping your gutters clean is something that you should be doing anyway for the structural integrity of your home as a whole. 

For the most part, your gutters shouldn't need cleaning or emptying more than once a year. However, if you notice more bird activity or if you seem to have drainage issues when it rains, then this could indicate a build-up. 

Magpie Food

In Summary

Magpies, among other birds, can cause issues in your garden, especially if you are superstitious. They are noisy, they can dig up or pull up plants and bother the other birds that visit your garden. However, getting rid of them isn't always easy because they can be quite tenacious.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do, as shown above. Remember, they are protected, so all you can do is try to deter them. Try using light reflections, make it harder for them to find food, and even try bird-scaring devices.