During the winter the magpie’s diet is largely vegetarian, and in the summer predominately ground invertebrates. In a new study in the journal Ethology, researchers from the University of Granada found that the Great Spotted Cuckoo laid its eggs in the nests of magpies while the magpie was sitting on the nest. For the magpie is the cleverest bird of all at building nests. All the birds of the air came to the magpie and asked her to teach them how to build nests. Magpies. Well, then Madge Magpie took some feathers and stuff and lined the nest very comfortably with it. ... which it collects and hordes in its nest. 4. So it went on, every bird taking away some knowledge of how to build nests, but, none of them waiting to the end. Because nest sites are limited, between 25 per cent and 60 per cent of magpies in an area do not breed. by Joseph Jacobs English Fairy Tales. They're a gardener's dream, a cyclist's nightmare, and according to the Guardian's poll, Australia's bird of the year. From a distance the Magpie is a black and white crow with a long tail. Black head, body and wings, with a sharply defined white belly and a long black tail, the tail and wings tinged with iridescent greens, blues and purples when seen at close quarters. I have been observing a pair of magpies for 3 years in my garden. The head, breast and back are black, the shoulders patches, belly and flanks are white. It’s worth bearing in mind that swooping magpies (invariably males on guard duty) do not act in aggression or anger but as nest defenders. The female built her nest recently and had 4 chicks. Breeding magpies hold a territory of about five hectares (12 acres) all year round. I have noticed today that the female has returned to the nest & I … “That suits me,” cried the starling, and off it flew; and very comfortable nests have starlings. The strategy they choose is based on risk assessment. They especially like the area under the bird baths, as it's always muddy there (thanks to me refilling every day, and the Starlings splashing like mad). Reputation: Magpies are well known for their thievery, avidly collecting shiny objects to adorn their nests. Weight: These magpies weigh between 220 and 350 grams (8–12 oz). Magpies help control pest insects such as grasshoppers and tent caterpillars, and also “clean up” dead animals and garbage scattered by other animals. The tail accounts for over half the total length of the bird and is an indication of the bird's status in its society. Legends and Short Stories to Share on Bird Day : The Magpie's Nest. They have just all left the nest after around 3 weeks and both male & female feeding them. Opinions differ widely on the impact of magpies on nesting birds. Size: The length of these birds is 37 to 43 cm (14.5–17 in) with a wingspan of 65–85 cm (26–33 in).. 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