If Magpies have taken over your yard, never fear! There is a way to get these persistent birds away and keep them away for good!
Magpies are resourceful, intelligent scavengers, so you may need to try multiple tactics. The key is to keep trying! You just have to be more stubborn than the Magpies.
What is a Magpie?
Magpies are medium-sized black and white birds, though they can be tan, green, or blue. They are distinctive because of their wedge-shaped tails. Varieties of magpies can be found in North America, as well as parts of Asia, Europe, and North Africa.
Magpies are omnivorous, which means they will eat just about anything! They are smart and adaptable. While these are admirable qualities, it also makes it difficult to get them away from your house and lawn.
Magpies are viewed as pests due to their dominant nature. They can terrorize other birds, animals, pets, and even homeowners. Their quest for food is never-ending. They will eat just about anything, and make a mess while doing so.
How to Chase Away Magpies?
I recommend you use a combination of tactics to scare away magpies. One method on its own may not be very effective. Check out this article for reviews of bird deterrents.
Clean up the Yard
Magpies and crows are naturally attracted to an untidy yard. A messy yard offers more food, water, and nesting opportunities for birds. Try to make your yard as unattractive as possible to magpies so they will fly on by!
Put Away Trash
Magpies love to pick through the trash for food and nesting materials. They are naturally curious birds, and want nothing more than to sort through all your stuff! Keep trash cans covered, or in a garage.
Create a Tidy Space
Tidy up debris, old toys, trash, or anything else that may attract the attention of a curious magpie.
Remove Dead Branches
Magpies are always on the lookout for nesting materials, like twigs and sticks. Keep your branches trimmed, and sticks picked up to keep the magpies away!
Place a Scarecrow
A scarecrow is easy to construct. Stuff old clothing with straw or newspaper. Fix it on a pole. Draw a face onto a bag for its head, and place a hat on top. Move the scarecrow periodically to keep the birds guessing.
Remove All Sources of Food and Water
Magpies, like any other animals, are on the hunt for easy sources of food and water. First, eliminate any source of water. Put away your birdbath. Fix the leaking hose. Discard any toys or tools that may collect water.
It is easy to overlook standing water in your gutters. Clean out the gutters so water can flow freely. Consider installing gutter guards. Not only will gutter guards keep your gutters clear, but they may deter birds from landing in the gutters.
Do not leave food outdoors. If you enjoy a barbecue on the deck, make sure to take all food items indoors immediately. Don’t leave dog or cat food outside, either.
Many of us enjoy watching birds gather at bird feeders. Magpies and crows can ruin the fun for everyone. They chase away small birds, and eat all the bird seed! Consider putting the bird feeder away until you get rid of the magpies.
Once the magpies have left your yard, bring back the bird feeder for small birds with a caged tube feeder. This type of feeder is difficult for medium and large birds to access.
Make Some Noise
Loud noises also scare away magpies! Play a radio in your backyard during the day. (You may want to check with your neighbors first!) Tie bells to the trees and eaves of the house where birds usually land.
An ultrasonic pest repeller is a motion-activated device that emits an ultrasonic sound wave that irritates pests. This sound does not usually bother people and can be adjusted.
Use Shiny Objects
Flashing lights are terrifying to magpies. This simple solution uses any shiny surface, and the sun’s reflected light. Some people hang up old CDs or aluminum foil. Or, you can purchase bird scare tape or pinwheels. Really, any reflective surface should work!
Hang the shiny objects from roofs, trees, and overhangs. When the sun catches the reflective surface, the flashes of light will deter birds.
Put up Bird Netting
Magpies and other birds like to think that your garden is a buffet set out just for them! Keep your fruits and vegetables safe from these pests with bird netting. Use the wire netting to cover any plants that are attractive to magpies.
Use Predator Decoys
Magpies have many natural predators, including owls, hawks, raptors, dogs, and cats. If you have a dog or an outdoor cat, encourage them to spend time outdoors when the magpies are around.
An owl decoy may be a great way to scare away visiting magpies. Place it in trees, or on the roof. Move the decoy to a different location every few days. This decoy even moves its head! Hawks are also natural magpie predators.
Set up a Motion Activated Sprinkler
Magpies do not enjoy being wet! A well-timed sprinkler may be enough to chase them out of your yard. This motion-activated sprinkler is a great option. The sensor detects movement up to 40 feet away.
I recommend setting up this type of sprinkler at night when you cannot be vigilant for magpie activity. Not only will you deter pests, but your yard will get an extra dose of moisture as well.
Install Bird Spikes
Bird spikes discourage birds from landing and roosting on your house or buildings. These plastic bird spikes are easy to install and are fairly unobtrusive. Metal bird spikes are also an option. Attach the spikes to gutters, ledges, ridges, fences, or any other area where you have seen magpies land.
Spread Bird Deterrent Gel
Bird repellent gel is a sticky gel that is applied with a caulk gun to any area where birds like to land. It is extremely sticky, and the magpies will not want it stuck to their toes!
This gel can cover a large landing area to keep pesky birds away! It is non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets. It will not damage most paints and stains.
The reason this gel is effective is that it is very sticky. Avoid placing it in areas where there is a lot of human traffic. Not only will the birds stick to the gel, but so will you!
When to Call a Professional
If you have particularly persistent Magpies, it may be time to turn to a professional pest control company or a bird keeper. A bird keeper will bring a bird of prey to your home to scare away other birds. Check your local listings for availability in your area.
Magpies may be more difficult to deter than most birds, but it is not an impossible task! Pick a combination of bird deterrent methods. If you don’t succeed, keep trying! If you are more stubborn than a Magpie, you can reclaim your home from these winged pests.