The head, breast and back are black, the shoulders patches, belly and flanks are white. Because nest sites are limited, between 25 per cent and 60 per cent of magpies in an area do not breed. “That suits me,” cried the starling, and off it flew; and very comfortable nests have starlings. Magpie bird is a distinctive black and white bird. Weight: These magpies weigh between 220 and 350 grams (8–12 oz). 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).. Legends and Short Stories to Share on Bird Day : The Magpie's Nest. The strategy they choose is based on risk assessment. I have been observing a pair of magpies for 3 years in my garden. Opinions differ widely on the impact of magpies on nesting birds. They're a gardener's dream, a cyclist's nightmare, and according to the Guardian's poll, Australia's bird of the year. Well, then Madge Magpie took some feathers and stuff and lined the nest very comfortably with it. T. TheSeagull Well-known member. So it went on, every bird taking away some knowledge of how to build nests, but, none of them waiting to the end. Magpies help control pest insects such as grasshoppers and tent caterpillars, and also “clean up” dead animals and garbage scattered by other animals. 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. The female built her nest recently and had 4 chicks. During the winter the magpie’s diet is largely vegetarian, and in the summer predominately ground invertebrates. All the birds of the air came to the magpie and asked her to teach them how to build nests. ... which it collects and hordes in its nest. They will also feed on the eggs and 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 … 4. 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. 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). 3. The tail accounts for over half the total length of the bird and is an indication of the bird's status in its society. From a distance the Magpie is a black and white crow with a long tail. Magpies. Other species of birds and mammals often use unoccupied magpie nests. My garden, being basically all mud, is a favourite of the Magpies when nest building/repairing. 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. For the magpie is the cleverest bird of all at building nests. by Joseph Jacobs English Fairy Tales. 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