Baby Magpie

We have had quite a flurry of birds breeding in our garden and nearby over the last month or so. White Winged Choughs, Little Ravens, New Holland Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds, House Sparrows, Common Starlings, Blackbirds and Grey Shrike-thrushes to name a few of them.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

One species that I was surprised about was our resident Australian Magpies. They have been very quiet in recent weeks and I did not find a nest. Not that I looked very hard, mind you. Still, I probably expect them to nest within about 40 metres of the house as is their usual habit.

Yesterday I heard the unmistakable call of a baby magpie calling from the tall eucalypt tree next to the driveway. Sure enough, there was a newly fledged baby magpie all covered in downy feathers and constantly begging to be fed.

UPDATE: I have just written a new articles, with photos, of the latest baby magpie in our garden. To read it, click here.

Newly fledged Australian Magpie

Newly fledged Australian Magpie

October 2011 Update: This article has seen more visitors and comments than any other on this site. Thanks to all my readers who are so interested in sharing their stories and experiences with baby magpies. I’ve included more photos taken recently in our garden.

Book review: The fearsome flute players is a wonderful books about Australian Magpies and how to care for them. You can read my review of the book here – and there is a special offer for readers of Trevor’s Birding too.

Coffee mugs: you can now buy coffee mugs featuring one of my magpie photos – click here. Search the same site for many other items featuring my bird photos, including shirts, hats, stationery, key rings – and much more.

UPDATE October 25th 2013

Sadly I have had to close comments on this article, the most popular article I have ever written. It has had 488 comments, hundreds more than any other post on this site.

Today I received another 10 comments from someone called LEE who attempted to post some aggressive and crudely worded comments in an attempt to correct what others had written. Such language will not be approved here, nor will very long comments all in capital letters (ie shouting). Please take your inappropriate comments elsewhere – or start your own website.

UPDATE September 24th 2015: Let’s try again. I have reopened comments on this post again. Please keep comments civil.

Baby Australian Magpie just out of the nest

Baby Australian Magpie just out of the nest

Baby Australian Magpie (left) just out of the nest

Baby Australian Magpie just out of the nest



514 Responses to “Baby Magpie”

    • Peter says:

      Is this forum still running Trevor

      • Trevor says:

        Yes, Peter.

        I haven’t added any new articles for some time due to family reasons. Nothing serious – just very busy helping our daughter pack up everything, putting it all into storage and farewelling her. She is now teaching in Ethiopia for the next two years. I hope to get back into writing new material here in the near future.

        • Peter says:

          Ok can I ask a quick question then. I have been feeding a family of 3 magpies since last October. I call them mother father and daughter! There have been about 3 days in that time when they haven’t come for a feed or visit! About 6 weeks they arrived with about 4 new baby magpies. The 3 continued to visit till August 15 and then didn’t come again to August 19. They had 2 young ones looking on. In the last 2 weeks no sign anywhere of the original family of 3 but 2 of the babies are always around visiting and eating worms etc. they seem to be in the nest that their parents were in. Is there a possibility that the 3 original magpies might ever return and that this sort of thing happens during breeding season? Would love to see the 3 old ones return and continue to see them! Thank u!

          • Trevor says:

            Hi Peter,

            Sorry about the delay in replying.

            Magpie breeding season is often a time of change in magpie populations. While it is true to say that many magpie territories are fixed and well defined, there is often a state of flux between territories. For example, on our 5 acre property we have three territories meeting somewhere in the middle. In the months of May to July there is much chasing and harassing going on between the territories. “Magpie Wars” we often call them. This harassment can also flow over to other species like the resident wattlebirds, ravens and choughs. While I haven’t witnessed it myself, some recently fledged young might get injured or killed in these territory disputes. While this is not the scenario that you are experiencing, it might give some insights into what is happening.

            At the same time as all of the above, the juveniles from last season’s breeding might still be hanging around. They can form small “gangs” or loose groups of “teenagers” with no fixed territory yet. They can be very mobile, crossing over fixed territories and causing resident magpies much distress and aggressive responses. I once saw a loose group of some 80 individuals in an approximate 10 acre area. Once these juveniles mature they will aggressively attempt to establish their own territory, breed and defend that territory.

            On a sadder note, what has possibly happened in your case, is that the original birds may have died of natural causes, or have been victims of vehicle hits. The attrition rate of magpies – especially the young – from natural causes (heat, cold, storms, wild weather, disease, predators such as eagles, lack of food sources etc) is very high, and vehicle impacts cause many deaths as well. This death rate can be as high as 80% or higher. If a juvenile magpie survives for 12 months, it has a good chance of living 15 to 25 years. This high death rate is compensated by adults breeding 2 to 4 times every year, often laying clutches of 2 to 4 eggs each time. These figures also apply to many other bird species. It is a wild world out there.

            Where does that leave “your” birds? They may have become victims of any of the causes I have mentioned. They may be breeding elsewhere and will return – they tend to be very faithful to their territory. They may have had to adjust their territory to allow several stronger young males to take over part of their territory. While it can be distressing to you that something bad has happened to the original birds, try to turn your focus on the remaining birds, enjoying their presence.

            I hope that this gives you some insights into the wild world of magpies.

  1. Lorraine says:

    I have invested in a 4 unit site in a suburb of Perth. Next year the company will start developing the site and I am concerned about the birds. Can you let me know when it would be a good time to have the trees cut down. Of course it could not be spring, so which month would be the least harm to the birdlife. Thanking you, Lorraine.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi there Lorraine. Welcome to my blog. I commend you on your concern for the bird life of your area. Without a personal knowledge of the area you are building in, it is rather hard to give precise information to help you. My comments below are therefore of a general nature only, so use this as a guide to making decisions. It may be of more help to contact your local National Parks office for more detailed information.

    If you are only talking about Australian Magpies, records from over 4000 nests Australia wide suggest that the breeding season lasts from June to March, but usually only from August to December. On this information, autumn would be the best time to clear the trees.

    If you are talking about all the birds of the area then the situation is much more complex. Some honeyeater and pigeon species are known to breed during any month of the year. This is usually in response to environmental conditions; if there is suitable food available they will breed. Crested Pigeons, for example, ALWAYS seem to be breeding around our home.

    As a general guide, though, many Australian species breed during spring and summer. August to December seem to be the prime times, with overlap at each end of this time frame depending on the conditions.

    It might be worthwhile borrowing a Field Guide of Birds, identifying what birds are in the area, and then looking through the guide for details of their times of breeding.

  3. Trevor says:

    Hi there Brett – welcome to my birding blog. I have been watching birds all my life. I will be 60 later this year. Even though I’ve studied birds all my life I am still learning new thins every day. I do not know much about birds from other countries, for example. That is what makes this such an interesting hobby.

  4. Laura says:

    Hey, I love magpies and quite a few live in my trees. My favourite one I named Maggie. I haven’t seen her for ages. Can you tell me the average lifespan of Australian Magpies???

  5. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting Laura.

    I am not sure of the lifespan of Magpies. I am interstate at present and do not have access to my library.

    A search on the internet suggests that the average lifespan is 4 years. The oldest recorded bird was 23 years.

  6. Laura says:

    It’s me again. I just want to say thank you. I miss Maggie. She was a really good Magpie although I must admit her children were very noisy. Thanks again. Laura.

  7. Trevor says:

    I understand how you feel Laura. We once had a regular magpie visitor to our garden and we called him Beaky, because he had half a beak missing. we enjoyed his visits and company for several years before he died.

  8. Pat says:

    Hi Trevor, A friends child brought me a baby magpie that I assume has fallen out of its nest. The poor thing has a broken leg from what I can tell it is not able to stand on it. It can not yet fly so I would say it is quite young. It still has its baby feathers. What I would love to know and am hoping you can help is what they eat, so far I have been seaching though my garden and have been feeding it worms, beetles, gubs, and slugs (I’m hoping they are all ok). As it is a little hard finding worms which I know they eat I have also been feeding it 95% mince beef (hoping thats ok too). The other problem I have is how much to feed it and also is there anything I can do about its broken leg. This is the second day with the bird and if you could tell me anything else that may help it would be great too. Thank you in addvance Pat

  9. Alicia says:

    Hi there, I too have got a baby magpie which my partner rescued while my pony was trying to hurt it. It appears that he has only a bruised leg as he can use it but not properly. I have it kept in a dog crate and am feeding it mince. What sort of bedding does he need, and should i prevent him from climing on a perch until he can use he’s leg fully? We want to save him but don’t want to keep him alive if he’ll never recover.

  10. Trevor says:

    Hi there Pat and Alicia,

    I am sorry but I am not experienced in caring for baby or injured birds. There are over 250 animal rescue and care groups throughout Australia. These people are trained and can offer much better advice than I could.

    Search for an organisation near you by going to this web site:

    Sorry I couldn’t help you.

  11. i have found a baby magpie around the corner from where i live and i was about to touch it but i didnt because i wanted to know if it had disease or something like that.Do you think you can help me?

  12. Trevor says:

    Hi there Gladys and Ashley,

    You did the right thing leaving the baby magpie. It has probably been blown out of the nest or has just left the nest. Its parents know where it is and its begging calls will direct them to it.

    I do not know much about bird diseases but it is highly unlikely that it would have any kind of disease that could harm you. Here in Australia we are free of most animal diseases. That is why we have very strict quarantine rules.

  13. brock says:

    my teachers magpie is a girl or a boy so how do we tell what sex it is

  14. marley says:

    how do you tell if a baby magpie is a boy or girl?

  15. Trevor says:

    Hi there Brock and Marley.

    Thank you for your question about magpies. I will reply to you privately by email.

  16. Ali says:

    Hi all. I’m a wildlife carer in Vic and just wanted to provide some information with regards to some of the questions on the blog although it may be a little belated. Firstly, let me say that injured or orphaned native animals need specialised care and a local wildlife group or vet should be contacted as soon as possible as per Trevors advice. There are a few illnesses that can be passed from bird to human but this differs between certain species. Salmonellosis can be carried in the faeces of wild birds so thorough washing of hands is imperative after handling birds. With regard to the post from Pat (30/09)about a magpies broken leg.. Without knowing exactly where the fracture was in this birds leg, it should have been taken directly to a vet for examination and most likely euthanased. Without going into too much detail, depending on where the fracture is in the leg, it may be able to be mended but birds bones heal within 48 hours so they need to be seen by a vet straight away to determine the viability of treatment. It is irresponsible to keep a bird knowing that it has a broken leg as it will never survive in the wild and become easy prey for a predator. With regard to feeding a baby magpie, again, they need specialised care and food, not just a diet of mince, although Pat did do the right thing by supplementing this with insects. I implore everybody to please contact your local vet or wildlife organisation if you find injured wildlife. I hope this information has helped a little. thanks.

  17. Katie says:

    Hi There. I’m a gardener from Sydney who has a variety of native birds visit my park throughout the day. Today I came across a baby magpie who had enlarged galls on it’s face, predominately under the eyes and on the top of his beak. Looked like wards. His mother was feeding him though he was having difficulty judging distance. Have you heard of this?

  18. Katie says:

    Ooops, wrong email

  19. Trevor says:

    Hi there Katie.

    From your description and the limited resources I have available it sounds like pox virus, relatively common in wild birds and domestic poultry.

    The virus is spread by blood sucking insects such as mosquitoes and mites. There is no known suitable treatment and so this little bird will probably die, unfortunately.

    I would advise against trying to catch it. Just let nature take its course.

  20. Sue Howes says:

    We have a visiting baby magpie which also has nobbles and bumps on its face and beak. I was worried that I was in some way responsible by feeding it with occasional bits of cheese and canned dog food. It’s a relief to know that it’s a virus but I’m sad I can’t help the poor thing. Is cheese bad for magpies?

  21. Trevor says:

    Hi there Sue – magpies tend to be rather omnivorous and will try to eat almost anything.

    Their preferred diet includes insects, beetles, worms, caterpillars, crickets, ants, millipedes, spiders, grasshoppers, cicadas, moths, cockroaches, mantises, snails, eggs, bees, seed, small fruit (eg berries). They are also meat eaters and will eat small reptiles, frogs, mice and even small birds (eg babies in nests).

    Cheese, even in small amounts, is probably not very good for them even if they like it. Try giving some of the things listed above instead (eg worms or snails).

    It would be wise not to let the bird become too dependent on food you give it. Just a treat or two every day or so. It needs to learn to fend for itself.

  22. Laura says:

    Hi…Remember me? The one that misses Maggie dearly…Well, a few days ago my mum found an injured pigeon on the road…She took it home with us…A few hours ago it died though…it was some kind of bug problem…There were these small bugs that were all over the poor pigeon…I found lumps everywhere…It was too late…:(

  23. Trevor says:

    Welcome back Laura. How sad to witness the demise of a lovely bird. Unfortunately many of our wild birds suffer badly through lice, viruses and other problems. It’s all part of the natural cycle of things – but still distressing nevertheless.

  24. Laura says:

    I know…


  25. Sue says:

    Our baby magpie and its sibling which also developed nobbles on its face have both recovered. The lumps got bigger and bigger and then started to go down until the birds look quite normal again. As well, they seem to be fit and healthy. A good news story!

  26. Trevor says:

    That is good news indeed Sue. Thanks for sharing a good news story.

  27. SUZY WALKER says:

    It is lovely to hear of so many people who care so much about our beautiful Magpies, I am a bird rescue person in New Zealand and I have two pet Magpies, one Named Maggie and the other called Tui ,they are both in large aviaries because they are now officially registered pests (sadly). As these two were handed in injured One with a broken ankle and the other orphaned after mum was shot, I have decided they will live out their lives in safety with me. they both wolf whistle and whistle, pop goes the weasel, imitate sirens and are generally wonderful birds to have , I feel very honoured to have them. They are fed Mince , insects,Calcium in foodand Vitamins also mashed peas and corn. If anyone needs an alternate healthy recipe that is used widely for raising our native Kiwi’s and other endangered meat eaters, I would be only to happy to oblige.regards Suzy (Taupo bird rescue NZ)

  28. Trevor says:

    Hi there Suzy. Welcome to my blog.

    I had forgotten that the Australian Magpie was introduced into New Zealand. It is sad that they have become pests in your country. Such beautiful songsters.

    We delight in having several families of them living on our small property. They come regularly for a drink and splash in our bird baths. We haven’t got into the habit of feeding them as some people do.

  29. Susan says:

    Hi there, I just wanted to say how lovely it is to read the stories here. We rescued a magpie on saturday here in England UK. It was really tame & pecking my toes while I was standing on our patio. We were offering moist dog mixer biscuits (all our feathered visitors love them when our greyhound leaves a few!)& hand fed it for some time. We had to rescue it though because 2 other magpies
    started to attack it. It looks like a young adult. We`re not sure how to tell what sex it is? We bought a large parrot cage & mynah bird food. Mature cheddar cheese has been a real favourite along with chicken, millet & a corn cob tied to the top of the cage. Its very hygienic & uses its water bowl for a bath every morning. We`re waiting to see if it will start to talk as it likes to chat in magpie squark! & is so very friendly & plays happily with the bits & pieces in its cage. They are very intelligent birds & such a pleasure to watch.

  30. Edna says:

    Hi I have a family of magpied which visit us every day, one of the babies had cotten twisted around her foot after a month or so of feeding her to get used to us we were able to catch her and remove the cotten which was embedded into her leg and full of pus I contact the local wildlife assoc. and they gave me supplements and antibiotics for her. which we were able to get her to take even though she was still free. after a month or so she was walking properly and is now a beautiful bird with a future. Sadly the parents have forcer her “Hoppy and her Sister Strider” as she could walk quickly to leave the area as I think they are looking at breeding again.
    It would be great if everyone could take care not to discard fishing line, cotton etc so our wildlife didnt become entrapped.
    Does anyone know when mapies are nesting if the mother bird stays in the nest or not?

  31. SUZY WALKER says:

    Hi Edna. Magpies nest from July to December. sometimes as early as June further North. they make nests of sticks ,grasses, wool etc. in the forks of Pines , Macrocarpa, Eucalypts etc and the hen incubates 2 to 4 grey/blue eggs with dark blotches for 20 days, both sexes feed the chicks. I hope this answers your’e question

  32. Trevor says:

    Thanks for that Suzy.

    This week our resident magpies commenced refurbishing the nest they used last year. They have been busy at it all week.

  33. Karen says:


    I have been searching for recipes for Magpie food and came across your site. I would just like to share a recipe that I found on

    Magpie Formula
    1 can Pal puppy food
    Wheat germ
    Heinz High Protein baby cereal
    Wombaroo insectivore mix – (available through your vet, or pet shop)
    One tablespoon chopped parsley
    One chopped hard-boiled egg
    Half a cup of grated hard cheese ie- Old Bitey
    One tablespoon of calcium carbonate

    All of the above ingredients must be used.
    If any are left out nutritional deficiencies can occur
    Add equal amounts of Heinz high protein baby cereal, wheat germ, and Wombaroo insectivore mix to the can of Puppy pal (one spoon of each at a time) until the mix is a moist crumble. Add the grated cheese, parsley, egg and calcium carbonate.
    This makes a large supply that can be frozen in small amounts with each days supply being defrosted as necessary. All food must be fed fresh or freshly defrosted daily.
    All feeding dishes must be washed in hot soapy water daily to prevent disease.

    Also there are 2 recipes on



  34. Trudy says:

    I am very excited I have found this blog as I have been trying to find out about the secret life of Maggies. We have a family of 8 magpies on one side of our house and a small family of 2 on the other side and the roof line is almost never crossed-over by the two groups. I have spent many wasted hours watching our ‘group of 8’ emu-bobbing for food, playing and fighting from my study window. We do not have any personal contact with this group so don’t know them pesonally.
    Our pair on the other side of the house have become very tame and wait daily to be fed and will stroll through the house at times. They have been around for a number of years as we can identify the male due to a missing toenail. In 2006 they produced a baby which they brought down to visit at our kitchen window. We were most excited and he was around for many months but when we went away for an extended holiday and came home he was gone!!! We were most excited to see our pair nesting last year but no babies appeared.

    I am very excited to say that we have noticed our girl maggie nesting this afternoon and wait in excited anticipation for a baby. We are surprised that they have built a new nest closer to our house but some 100 mtrs from last years nest. I always thought magpies used the same nest year after year.
    We have been hearing a magpie regularly carrolling at about 3am and wonder if this has something to do with breeding.
    In another area of our garden is a young lone magpie which is very different from the others. It has very brown wings and is always alone. I am wondering if this is due to it’s colouring (racial discrimination in the bird world?).
    We also have a family of butcher birds who have become reasonably tame and feed with our magpies. The maggies are not too pleased and chase them away but the butcher birds are clever flyers and know that if they fly through our dense bushes the magpies are too big to get through. We have lots of fun watching them try to outsmart each other.
    I am very glad to discover a recipe for feeding magpies as it has always worried me that fresh meat is unhealthy for them and that is why they didn’t breed last season.
    I really look forward to reading other people’s experiences with this delightful bird.

  35. Mac says:

    It’s interesting to read these entries on the Australian magpie. We’ve been following our tribe in the foothills of Adelaide for 24 years and have a genealogy that stretches back for 5 generations. Just looking through the entries here, one item that needs correction is the lifespan of magpies. Our original couple died in their early 20’s. We got to know them after the Ash Wednesday bushfire of 1983. At that time they had their full colours so they were at least 2 years old by then. The cock (George) died in 2001 from eating a rat that we had poisened with rapid kill (we’ll never use that product again!). We actually had him euthenased as he was bleeding badly. His mate (Scunge, don’t ask!) was electrocuted with one of her offspring in April 2006 when the two of them spanned the power lines, presumably wingtip to wingtip. This created a huge ruckus in our family and those left had their territory reduced when a neighbouring family took over a section that had always belonged to our mob.

    The territoriality of the magpie is absolute – I can draw and invisible line through our 2 acre block that is NEVER transgressed, by either side.

    I read that one respondent indicated they had a ‘discoloured’ maggie – that would most likely be a juvenile. They don’t loose the brown/grey feathers and grey beak until they are 2 years old. Until then it is impossible to tell a male from a female, except that you can guess sometimes by the amount of singing they do. If you hear a youngster apparantly warbling just for the joy of it, our experience has been that it will more likely show itself to be a male when it gets its colours. They love to sing when there is noise in the area – a lawn mower will the young ones going on a warm weekend day.

    I also note that one person came back after a long holiday to find a youngster gone. Again, our experience has been that if it’s a young male, it will have the heavies put on it to leave soon after he gets his colours (2nd year). The cock of the group can lead merciless attacks on the younger set and we have had babies whose legs have been broken (we presume) from the apparent injuries resulting from these pecking-order barnies.

    With reference to food, we get condemned for feeding our guys, but they only get mince, twice a day – we’ve tried other meats but it’s an experience and a half to have a bag of feathers refuse to take dog meat and hang out until the mince is offered! They gather at the front door for the morning session and are waiting for us when we return from work. At other times they know there’s nothing for them so they go about their business. In 24 years, this feeding regime does not seem to have affected the family. They’ve bred normally and produced healthy offspring and live long lives. However, we did have an offspirng last year (Wheezie) which had respiratory problems and only lasted 5-6 weeks out of the nest. So, this year we are using a mix suggested by Fauna rescue just to make sure we’re not harming the young ones when their biology is forming.

    We have taken 6 week trips during nesting a fledgeling season and the family is just as healthy as when we left – they don’t starve for the inability forage for themselves. They’re a canny lot.

    And the singing in the middle of the night during nesting season is usual. We’ve assuned it has to do with the fact that the hen is possibly under hreat as she is ‘chained to the nest’ and these are re-assurance calls that all is well. Think of them as the old town crier.

    Magpies have very individual personalities. We have one chap we call Stalin – a most endearing rogue who will take on all comers. We have pictures of him trying to heard two ducks and checking out a koala. He’s a fearsome opponent for any unwanted visitors to the territory (that is, if he’s moved to do something about it, he chooses when it suits him). Another of our maggies can look into your soul – he bores you with his eyes during the feed session and seems to need that inner contact. Celia, the current hen, is incredibly placid and stays above the fray of the family and goes about her business.

    I’m orginally Canadian and when my parents used to visit every second year through the 80’s and 90’s, their first stop was to see the maggies – we came second. They’re an amazing bird and if you think you’ve got them tamed, look in the mirror and you may see the real relationship – they’ve got you tamed.

    And to the person from England, the Aussie magpie is not the despised magpie you have over there. Like so much of our flora and fauna, it was given an English name because it looked vaguely like the British bird – black and white, but otherwise, it’s a diffrent and local-only bird.

  36. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting Trudy – and for all of your comments. It really shows that you thoroughly enjoy watching the lives of the magpies in your neighbourhood. I invite you to return often to my blog and to leave comments and observations of the birds in your part of the world.

  37. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting Mac – and for your lengthy comments. I may even extract some of your comments for separate articles on my blog in coming weeks – it depends on how much time I have to spare.

    I appreciate your comments on the longevity of Australian Magpies. I spent some time looking through the HANZAB entry – this is THE authority on Australian birds and is a compilation of all research done on each species.

    While the articles do not specifically mention a definitive life expectancy of this species, there have been some individual magpies that have lived well into their 20s. When I wrote that the average lifespan of Australian Magpies is 4, that is probably fairly close to the mark. The death rate in juveniles is sadly very high which skews the average down considerably. This high death rate is sadly as a result of road kills. One article suggests that the death rate could be as high as 60% in the first year.

    The flip side is brighter – if a magpie survives the first year, there is a very good chance it will live for 5, 10 or even more years. Twenty years is not unknown. I guess that the further one goes from busy roads the better is the survival rate (my opinion only).

  38. tammy says:

    Hi Trevor,

    My name is Tammy and I’m a wildlife carer, I have been raising baby birds for years & love doing it – saving our precious native birds and animals so they can go back to the wild is an amazing feat.
    I’ve been reading your blog & I agree that yes, it is best to leave the raising of these guys to their parents ( they do a better job) or if the baby is orphaned phone a wildlife care group nearest you. They are regularly trained each year to do this, as well as licenced by national parks & wildlife.
    Every spring/summer I spend sometimes up to12 hours a day feeding tiny baby birds ( all different species but mostly tiny insectivorous ones) and I really enjoy it.
    About hand feeding the birds in your backyard – we usually are against this, but in times of need for instance drought, I am known to support feed some birds around our place if i’ve released them. We do this in a way that they still will learn to hunt for them selves and gradually taper off feeding times and amounts slowly so the bird does not starve.
    But to do this right, you need the balanced diet that they need to keep them healthy and if you are not trained to do this the proper way, the bird becomes tame ( or imprinted) to you ( or any human being that’s around). This is bad for the bird because it will lose it’s fear of humans/ pets which results in the bird being eventually killed by a predator. ( humans, dogs, cats)
    Happy bird watching – Tammy

  39. Trevor says:

    Thank you Tammy for this timely reminder to all of my readers.

  40. tammy says:

    That’s okay! no problem. Tammy

  41. Mac says:

    With reference to Tammy’s comment about being imprinted on its feeder, my experience has been that with our wild magpies (ie. raised to independence by their parents, they are actually capable of distinguishing between humans. For instance, if they haven’t had their morning feed, they will give us a gentle reminder by flying close to us or landing at our feet. But they don’t show this behaviour with anyone else.

    I also had an almost unnerving experience in a downtown park in Adelaide. On the way to work, I ‘befriended’ a male maggie and occasionally fed him a piece of mince meat. One day, on the way home, I was crossing a four lane road with a number of other pedestrians. While waiting at the lights, I could see the maggie perched on a light pole in the park, and he seemed to be eyeing me, but I put that down to my anthropomorphic tendencies. However, when I crossed the road, he flew down to my feet, no mistaking that he had picked me out of the group. I could only surmise that he could identify me by my distinctive metal briefcase, which occasionally held his mince treat.

    I had only fed him about a dozen times over an eight month period. I moved offices soon after and a year later passed through the park and called at him from a distance of about 30 meters and he responded just as he did 12 months ago. They’re a very canny bird and I presume the adults, living potentially into their 20’s, and spending all their life in a single territory, they get to know all the sights and sounds intimately. You can buy into that memory bank with a little bribery!

  42. Trudy says:

    This video about the lyre bird is absolutely fascinating and is worth viewing.
    What a wonderful bird!!

  43. Trevor says:

    You are right Trudy – it is an amazing bird and an amazing piece of filming.

  44. matt says:

    hi everyone, we have an south australian white backed magpie which we hand reared after my son found it on a pathway still pink with no feathers we didn’t know what it was for a couple of weeks, Timone (his name) now lives with us inside the house however we do take him outside for walks as he has a harness as i don’t believe in clipping wings(as in the wild timone still defends his territory and family (us) he is like a 3 yr old child wanting everything you have timone is now 18 months old and is doing excellent (he can never be released as these birds are teritorial and he does’nt know the dangers of the wild but does live a happy life with us

  45. Edna says:

    Hi again,
    I just visited my sister who live in suburbia Melbourne, there is a flock of approx 30 magpies hanging around her house mostly juveniles I have never seen so many in one place. She told me 4 of them were sitting on her window this morning looking in while she had a shower. Has anyone every heard of magpies congregating like this or know why they do it.
    My own resident maggies have a new nest and are keeping very busy feeding their new babies. I am so looking forward to them bringing them to meet us.
    I love reading other magpie lovers comments so keep them coming.

  46. Trevor says:

    Hi there Edna,

    This is an interesting observation but not uncommon. The social behaviour of Australian Magpies has been well studied over the years. It is quite complex as you would imagine. There are many different types of flocks that they form at different times of the year.

    The most common is a breeding group a 2 – 6 individuals who normally defend a territory vigorously. This group can have several juveniles or non-breeding adults.

    Also quite common are the non-territorial groups consisting largely of juveniles but can have some non-breeding adults. These can vary from 10-50 individuals. This is probably what you witnessed. While it is not unusual, it is noteworthy.

    Loose foraging flocks of anywhere from 50 to 500 have been recorded. This has usually been in response to extreme climatic conditions such as drought. Large flocks may congregate where there is a sudden abundance of food, for example, after localised rain.

  47. Trudy says:

    My father has often told me about the maggie nest he had as part of a collection when he was a young boy in the mid 1930’s. It was a magpie nest containing wire and a hand egg beater!!! Sadly his collection has long gone.

  48. Trevor says:

    Hi there Trudy. Thanks for that comment. Magpies, ravens and crows are amazing in their use of our cast off items. I have heard of some amazing things found in bird’s nests. Our own resident magpies have use box thorn extensively in some of their nests -how they can sit on them and not get spiked beats me!

  49. Pamela says:

    Great site, just have some questions this morning my husband was going to work and saw baby magpie and two adults near it on the ground near his car. I thought it fell out of nest and rang 1300 number but have had no response. My thoughts after reading your site are that they are in process of teaching it to fly. One of the parents fed it as baby was screeching for food and then parent bird moved to rear of baby that was sitting on a garden sleeper. The baby shook its tail feathers and out popped a sack of fecal matter that the parent scooped up before it could fall on the ground and flew off. The other parent stayed in the area. Whilst one was off looking for food the other parent stays around. I really hope that it is learning to fly and hasn’t fallen out of nest, not sure what to do as when baby is not eating it is crouched down behind the garden sleeper out of the wind.

  50. Harley says:

    hey trevor/anyone else that can help
    i just came home and there was a baby magpie sitting on my doorstep – very young, but had feathers. i dont think that it will be recovered by the parents, and was wondering what the best way of looking after it would be? please email or reply here asap

  51. Harley says:

    also it was completely unafraid of me…

  52. matt says:

    hi the best thing for your baby is wombaroo insectivore rearing mix with pedigree puppy food and weetbix with timone we also crushed up meal worms you mix it all together with some nice warm water even they the baby has feathers it is still wise to make a nice comfortable bed with a hot water botttle or something to keep it warm ctrust me it will let you know hhen the little one is hungry goood luck with it hope this helps

  53. matt says:

    also we found it easier to feed the baby on the back a teaspoon handle its the perfect shape and size to get the food in as the baby puts its head up for feeding

  54. Harley says:

    he/she is eating some mince ive been giving it, which is good πŸ™‚ ill try ur suggestions for food – thanks heaps!
    im so scared its gonna die though! aah.
    so keep it warm and feed it – is stuff like bread soaked in water bad?
    thanks again

  55. matt says:

    hi harley / everyone we have a magpie which we reared from birth i cant stress enough about people feeding there baby magpies mince meat (it is not good for them ) as the preservatives in the mince depletes the bone structure in magpies and any insect eating bird for that matter causes there bones become brittle and break as we have been told by wild life and fauna sanctuary’s.
    it is very important that if you have a real young bird you need to put a bottle of hot water (we used a plastic coke bottle)wrapped in something as not to burn.warmth is most important for the survival food is second

    here is a rearing mix we used

    Wamberoo incetivore rearing mix (most important)pet shops
    pal puppy food
    weetbix (when abit older) 3-4 mnths

    mix with warm water and feed to young every 4 hrs if fledgling
    once they learn to feed themselves you can make the mix into pellets for good supplement

    we now feed ours still same food but as he is older now we buy meal worms and crickets live he loves them,

    i hope this helps

  56. matt says:

    Hi pamela, you are right in saying that, parents do quite often start there young to fly and leave it on the ground to sometimes fend for itself but one is always watching while the other collects food, as i understand from some study’s some flocks there is a matriarc (one mother one father) but many baby sitters too, these baby sitters are not allowed to breed while the matriarc is around unless they ard exiled from the flock to form new grounds and sites

    hope this helps


  57. matt says:

    hi harley i don’t reccommend feeding bread in water as bread also have man made preservatives stick to the mix i posted and keep warm when the bird can stand up on his/her haunches(own feet) you can then teach him/her to perch, i hope you realise by hand rearing the magpie it will be with you for life

    good luck keep us posted

  58. Harley says:

    yeh its pretty young (feathers on its wings, stumpy tail, down on back, stomach and head) and incredibly tame, so although i would love to release it to the wild im aware that ill probably end up with a magpie (which i dont mind at all anyway)

    that is, assuming i can keep it alive :S

    thanks for that tip on the mince, im not sure when i’ll be able to get some insectivore rearing mix cos im not able to drive, but ill get it asap – any other household foods i can give it?

    ill try to keep it warm as well
    thanks matt!
    where abouts do you live?

  59. matt says:

    you can try mincing up bugs outside for now as that is its natural food source can you send me a picture to my email address its that will give us a good indication on age and where it is at for natureing , the only reason we never let ours out is because magpies are very territorial and if you release it it could get killed by others or falcons/hawks etc even cats,


    ps make sure you cut the heads off bugs as the can climb back up the birds crop

  60. matt says:

    we live in South Australia near christies beach

  61. Harley says:

    i dont have my camera on me, i lent it to a friend
    but heres a photo that looks like mine

    and mines slightly younger than this one

    mine can perch (but not very well) and happily sits on my arm/leg while i feed it

    ahah bugs are hard to find too πŸ™
    but again thanks for the ‘head’ tip

  62. Harley says:

    and im in victoria, south-east near the beach

  63. matt says:

    harley if you cant get wamberoo rearing mix duck down to your supermarket and buy some pal puppy food to tie you over
    it looks like a blacked backed magpie i will send you some photos of ours



  64. matt says:

    To anyone rearing a baby bird that can’t be released to the wild some of these birds need a permit to keep if your wondering, we got one for our magpie and it is free it just covers you from losing your newley loved pet to rspca but also there are guidelines to adhere too and must be obeyed for safety if any questions on raising orphaned magpies please email me at


  65. Harley says:

    matt, do those laws etc. apply in victoria?

  66. matt says:

    hi harley anita here matts wife we are not sure if the laws apply in victoria i would assume they would as the magpie is an australian native animal,i am pretty sure you would have no trouble in getting a permit we just contacted our local council and they set us on the right path, i would give it a little time just to make sure your baby is fine sorry couldnt be more help matt just suggested try your local wild life and fauna but stress to them you wish to keep your baby

  67. matt says:

    hi harley how is the magpie doing ?

  68. matt says:

    hi trevor, sorry about answering some of these blogs before , but i feel as rearing a baby from a little pink thing to an adult size bird it made me qualify to answer people in need of help hope you don’t mind


  69. harley says:

    hey matt and others interested:

    day 4 and the magpie is still going strong πŸ˜€
    eating well, letting me know (loudly) when it wants food, and is completely unafraid of me. sits happily on my arm when im feeding it, and is lively and observant and watches everything tahts going on

    ill keep you all updated

    the photos didnt come through tho

  70. matt says:

    thats great, harley our birds eyes where closed when we got him so he only knows us but does know what he is as he has friends come an visit him when he is in his aviary and the sing together, he also wolf whistles, does police sirens (son plays alot of san adreas) lol
    harley can you send me your email address and i will send some pics of when ours was about your age and what he looks like now

  71. matt says:

    you can send email privately for return mail if you wish

  72. matt says:

    hey trevor do you have some kind of picture blog people can upload photos too ?

  73. harley says:

    my email is
    anyone feel free to email me πŸ™‚

    how do you go about training it?
    my magpie’s eyes are well and truly open, but it has no fear and now recognises me i think

  74. matt says:

    here is a webpage where you can view timone

  75. harley says:

    oooooh cool πŸ™‚
    so do you just let it roam all around the house?

  76. Trevor says:

    Hi there Matt and Harley. Great to see this exchange of ideas about looking after baby magpies. With the discussion going on between you and others, I almost feel a stranger on my own blog! LOL. Keep it up – it’s great.

    Matt – I do have a private photo gallery – the link is on the sidebar and it’s called Photo Gallery (imaginative name heh?) Here is the link:

    Unfortunately – because it is a family gallery you would not be able to have access to post photos there. You will have to use the Contact form to send me the photos via email. If suitable, I may upload them to the gallery. The contact form is here:

  77. matt says:

    yeah he roams around the house and into everything its like having a child around lol but we love him, he thinks he is the boss of everything and everyone, he thinks he’s human even showers with us he tells you when he wants a shower by squaking at the bathroom door, we turn the shower on a little and he baths in it like a bird bath lol, very cool.
    he is a very comical bird and always has us laughing day in day out, the only time he gets annoyed is when you say its bed time i am sure now he understands this word as he heads for the highest put in the room and when anyone tries to get him down he flaps and snaps at them lol, but even magpies have too go to bed, he does get nasty at times when new people come in but we are very careful with them, we know if he likes them, as he will either land on there shoulder and nip there ear or bite at there shoes. however he hates thongs (i have heard of this behaviour before though in magpies) if he does’nt like you he will growl and land on the floor puffed up, wings dropped and walks really slow doin a gangster walk lol, and then you know its not safe, he has a glass of water on the table and a mixture of grubs (meal worms, crickets etc to his liking, we take visits to the vet and he does’nt mind the local pet shop either i have made a web page this evening for anyone who wishes to see him i will post more later, we are so lucky we were given this rare oppurtunity to rear this wonderful and smart bird (human)lol

  78. matt says:

    to training a magpie is very difficult as they are there on little character timone just does his own thing but eventually you will become his/her best friend, when they are little and you come in the door they will flap there wings in excitement, as they get older like timone when he see’s me coming from the car he flies franticly around the room and screams and then i get heaps of kisses but remember onced reared by hand at a very young age they are with you for life as they not know the dangers outside

  79. matt says:

    oh i almost forgot harley to teach yours to drink what we did was dip timones beak in glass of water, they soon pick it up, as it gets older you can roll up the food mixture i gave you and put it in its beak and they will learn from that, soon he/she will pick food up on its own and swallow ,hope all goes well i hoped you like the web page of timone

  80. harley says:

    yeh the web-page is great πŸ™‚
    ive got the water, how do you teach it to feed (more detail)?
    also what about it pooping all over ur house?
    thanks again for all your help

  81. matt says:

    hi harley anita here to teach timmone to teach timmone to eat we just rolled his food in little soft pellets and put them in his mouth it takes weeks of persistance but eventually he just started to pick up food .
    timmone didnt really start to eat himself til he was flying and pecking at things as for the poop we have wooden floors so that makes the job a whole lot easier, we keep a roll of paper towel handy and a spray cleaner and pretty much as he poops we clean,he does know the word no,for instance he is banned from the tv unit and every time he gets up there he is told no and most times he listens. i will admit its a pain to be on poop patrol but i guess thats the sacrifice we have to make also the biggest poop you will have to deal with is the first one in the morning,timmone has a big cage in the laundry he sleeps in but never does his morning poop in there,he goes to bed at 7:30 at night and usually he starts to tell you to let him out around 7am and without fail he flies out then backs up and poops lol.also i will give you the tip on how we taught him to fly,as he got old enough matt and my son gently let him drop into a bean bag and as he started to use his wings they just got further away from the bean bag now he is an expert at manouvering himself all over the house hope this helps

  82. matt says:

    harley also to teach your baby to drink just gently dip his beak in the water once again it will take a while for it to drink itself,with timmone we just put some water on a teaspoon and poured it in after every feed until he learnt to drink himself

  83. Heather says:

    Hi everyone,

    What a heartwarming blog to visit! It is SO good to hear from others who are as crazy about birds and pets as I am.

    Last Wed I heard to my absolute delight my first baby maggie of the season food-begging for the first time, and saw the parents going back and forth to feed it my neighbour’s gum tree which hangs over my dogyard fence. I expect you can all guess what occured yesterday, which made me just about weep…. yes, I found baby dead in the dogs yard with parents silently watching from above. Fortunately they had not mauled it and of course I cannot punish them as I didn’t see it happen, I’d been out all day.

    Anyhow reading all your lovely comments and stories and advice feels very comforting and it’s nice to have understanding “ears” to blurt to!

    Enough mush, now to questions:

    Is it likely the parents will breed again this season? They are very quiet, still hanging around the nest site.

    Do you think the parents will have learnt that they mustn’t let future babies into the dog’s yard? Or wouldn’t they be able to control where it lands first time it comes down from the tree?

    Thanks again for this blog, it is a great place.


  84. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my blog about Australian birds, Heather. Thank you also for your positive comments about this blog. I try to add a new article every day but this year it has not been possible. (At age 60 I’ve returned to full time study at University).

    It is quite possible that this pair of magpies will nest again this year. Many magpies will breed a second time during the normal season which can extend from June through to March (normally August to December). They may even reuse the same nest. The pair breeding in our garden are using the same nest for the third year in a row. They usually have two clutches each year.

    It is quite unpredictable where a newly fledged baby will fly. If the wind catches it the baby can be blown off course and make a spectacular crash landing somewhere unplanned. It usually takes a few days for them to learn how to control those strange things called wings. Quite often they lack most of the tail too when they leave the nest, so they are almost rudderless as well.

  85. Heather says:

    Thanks Trevor.

    What are you studying at uni?

    I went to uni for the first time in my life at age 42, and got a Bachelor of Music and a Grad Dip in Education. Therefore I believe that if I can do it, anyone can!

  86. Trevor says:

    Hi again Heather.

    I retired from primary school teaching a few years ago and have been trying to write full time ever since – a dream from many years ago. Writing my three blogs is a part of that.

    This year I decided to do my Master of Arts in Creative Writing. I should finish it next year. While it is very challenging – the standards have risen sharply since I last studied – it is also immensely exciting and stimulating.

    Next year I have to write a forty thousand word novel as my thesis. It has to be of publishable standard to pass. So watch this space (or rather watch my blog about writing – )

  87. Mac says:

    Trevor, maybe you can work on the Australian version of The Birds of Telegraph Hill. After all, that book was based on parrots very similar to our Lorikeets. Is it time for this blog to move on from magpies and encompass some of our other avian characters?

  88. Heather says:

    Wow Trevor,

    Good on you! Hard work yes, but immensely rewarding I imagine. Good Luck and all.


  89. Trevor says:

    Mac – I try to keep this blog moving in new directions by posting new articles almost every day (when I’m able to) but many of my readers seem to be stuck on baby magpies and annoying blackbirds, not to mention those pesky swooping plovers. I try – really I do.

    I have heard of the book and film of The Birds of Telegraph Hill but have not seen either of them. Do you recommend them?

  90. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words Heather.

  91. Mac says:

    The book was actually The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I’m not much of a reader (newspapers mainly) but this book charms any bird lover. It’s both an absorbing true-life tale but also an instructional tale on the problems of humanising (anthropomorphising) birds. All readers of this blog will relate to the author’s relationships he developed with ‘his’ flock of wild parrots in San Francisco, but the beauty of this story is that his relationship changed as he gained greater understanding of his impact on the flock.

    I suspect reading the book could seed some ideas in your mind Trevor, in terms of directions you can take with your writing. The author not only wrote a best seller on his story and knowledge of the flock (he didn’t even expect to publish), but turned it into a career as it morphed into a movie, website and all sorts of other supporting materials and events. Check out the Wikipedia entry on The Wild Parrots of…. and also see the author’s website

  92. Heather says:

    I am stoked to have come across this website. All the comments and stories of our beloved magpies has me filled with laughter and joy.
    I sit here on my computer and look out my window to view my magpies. They are a truely amazing bird.

  93. Tricia says:

    Greetings from Sanctuary Lakes Point Cook!

    Well I have my own baby magpie story. Last night the baby magpie from it’s mallee nest in our street appeared on our back fence. He fluttered and struggled into what looked like his old home, a grafted red gum in our back yard which is about 1 metre high. He settled down for the night but I was terrified of him getting eaten by the neighbour’s cat.

    The whole family was out talking and cooing to him, asking him silly questions like “where’s your Mum and Dad?” (No sign of the latter anywhere I might add).

    Hubby said no don’t move him back out into his nesting tree, so I set about like some mad witch doctor surrounding the little red gum with citrus peel and eucalyptus wool wash, all things I read on google would deter a cat. Meanwhile “Baby” watched on in quiet interest.

    At 5.45am I heard an adult song outside our bedroom window and raced to the window to spy that bloody cat at Baby. I ran down the stairs and out into the backyard, phew, Baby survived the beasties of the night.

    I didn’t want to, but decided 40cm from the ground was no perch for a baby magpie so moved the squawking youngster to the fence. Hubby pointed out that this mightn’t be the best place either with the cat around, but I had chased the cat and it knows it is not welcome in our yard.

    Baby sat on our fence peering longingly at any bird which flew overhead. After what seemed like an eternity I heard the unmistakeable call of a baby magpie. Baby had managed to walk, fly, scramble across the neighbour’s fences (away from the cat’s yard, luckilly) and was reunited with Mrs Magpie.

    PS I did try and feed it (I’m a Mum, thats what we do!) but apparently all I could find was a slice of dinner’s raw fish, needless to say, Baby wasn’t much interested.

  94. Edna says:

    Hi Tricia,
    I live in point cook as well and I am so pleased to know someone else is looking out for out local magpies as there is so few of them in our area.
    As for cats I literally hate them for what they do to our birds and small wildlife, owners should be more responsible and keep them in expecially at night time. I had a little willy wagtail that would visit us at the same times as our maggies (he thought he was a magpie) I think. anyway I havnt seen him for a few weeks now and I blame the owner of 3 cats across the road from us as they are forever stalking the birds which visit me. It makes me so sad to think that should a beautiful brave little bird should meet such a sad end. I only hope that he might have found himself a nice girl to love and grow old with. LOL

  95. Tricia says:

    Hello Edna in Point Cook too!
    One of the reasons we built in S Lakes was its close proximity to the Cheetham Wetlands. We love bird spotting and are amazed at the variety that passes through our yard. We even had a Superb Fairy Wren nest in our yard and had the privilege of seeing the tiny baby emerge from the nest. I also love the happy willy wagtails, always “shakin their bootee”.
    As for “Baby”, well my son spotted him down the road on someone’s balcony rail calling out for food from Mrs Magpie.

  96. Trevor says:

    Thanks for stopping by Heather, Edna and Tricia, and for leaving your stories. They are great. I hope everyone else is enjoying them too. Look – there’s plenty of room on this blog for more stories.


    Tricia – I’m jealous – I would love to have Wrens nesting in my garden. I suppose I can’t have everything.

  97. Tricia says:

    Hello Trevor and thankyou for a great site. I googled “baby magpie” and your site was just about my first hit.

  98. Trevor says:

    Hi again Tricia.

    It often amazes how close to the top of Google searches some of my articles appear. I guess it just means that there is very little else on the web on this subject. It also means that many people seeking information find what they are looking for.

    This just highlights one of the main reasons for keeping this blog going. Primarily I want to share my passion for birds with other bird lovers. But secondary to that is the teacher in me – I just can’t help myself. I want to share my knowledge and experiences with others. It comes from being a teacher for 35 years, I guess.

  99. Trudy says:

    I had an interesting time yesterday watching a family of white-winged choughs at Pound Bend Warrandyte Vic. I was visiting the Landcare nursery at Pound Bend to collect some indigenous plants when I noticed a group of about 10 birds foraging in the leaf litter and grooming themselves beside a dam. I walked over to have a look as I thought they were currawongs but they were quite different. Unlike currawongs they were very tame and flitted around our feet. They were such a delight and I couldn’t wait to get home to read about them in my bird book.

  100. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the baby magpie story Trevor, boy that grass looks dry!

    I’m not sure if I’ve seen choughs Trudy. After looking them up in my bird book, I’ll try and look out for them.

  101. Trevor says:

    I have just added a new article with photos of the latest baby magpie here:

  102. Heather says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Just read your story about the baby magpie. Had me laughing for a good hour. I unfortunately live in a little unit with no grass and very little garden. When I moved in I started buying bird seed for the doves. Since doing that I have attracted magpies. I have so many that I cannot keep track of them. As a young adult I had had some attacks from magpies and was until now very very scared of them. I feed them premium mince. Probably should not? I started of by throwing the mince in the air and they would catch it. Now I throw it on the ground (as they sing to me and tell me “Hi I am here, feed me). Some of them are wary of me and there is one who sings to me with harmony and joy. I have a five year old daughter and she is actually now able to hand feed some of them. Her appreciation in mother nature has matured so much from our magpies. I know very little about them and being on this blog is great. Give yourself a pat on the back.
    Have a couple of questions. Sorry but as I stated know very little so please be patient.
    I feed my magpies budgie seed and premium mince. Is that ok?
    Do they attack there young if they are sick?
    Are they ones for showing of?
    How do I tell a male from a female?
    Time for my little Bindi Irwin to have a bath.
    Great site
    Heather Perth WA

  103. matt says:

    hi Trevor and everyone, well we had an experience the other day with Timmone our white backed magpie, what happened was he was in his aviary out the front singing with some other magpies when the guy around the corner rode past with his dogs off the leash, the dogs took straight to the birds scaring them off and harrasing timmone,
    i shot straight out the front yelling at the guy with the dogs that they should be on a leash, my wife told me to bring timmone inside, i opened his gage and he was still very frisky a flew off straight past me

    i thought here we go again dad needs to go rescue him i saw him fly up the road with 3 magpies in toe chasing him, i put my shoes on and went out the back only to here magpies singing in our apple tree out the back there they all were, i approached the tree and the wild ones flew off, as i approached timmone calling him some wattle birds thought they would take advantage of this and scared him into flight again, he took off over the house to the paddock with same magpies in toe, they had a little scrap i rushed over to the fence and called him, to my delight and his i imagine timone picked himself up and flew straight to me, i suppose he still needs dads protection, he is home and safe, i have moved his aviary to the back of the house now and as i am writing this blog the magpies are outside his aviary singing with him, i wish he could join them but he not know the dangers that await outside his domain, am sorry timmone but looks like you will be with us forever lol we don’t mind we love him,
    ps we dont get many visitors now when timmone is inside though i wonder why lol

  104. Trevor says:

    Heather – while they will eat seed magpies are primarily insectivorous. Try not to use too much mince – as a treat once in a while it’s okay but it lacks many of the things magpies need. They will eat snails, grasshoppers, worms, millipedes, spiders, cockroaches, caterpillars and they will enjoy some fruit like berries.

    As a general principle, it is not advisable to put out food every day. Some people say you should never put out food for wild birds. If you do it too much they will become dependent on your food and will not search for themselves. Then if you go away, they could easily starve.

    I do not know if they will attack their young if they are sick. Sick young birds are often those that become road kill or are taken by hawks and other birds of prey.

    Do they show off? Not sure what you mean or have observed. In birds and all animals, what might appear to us as play is more likely the adults teaching the young various life skills necessary for survival. It may appear to our eyes as fun – for them it could mean the difference between living and dying. However, I do know that when food is plentiful, some parrots – Galahs for example – will indulge in activities which can only be described as play.

    It is easy to tell the male from the female in Magpies. In the Perth area where you live the male is glossy black with a white neck while the female is duller with grey scalloping on the back. The immatures are dull grey with more scalloping all over.

    It might be worthwhile getting a field guide from the library (or buying one) to see for yourself. I can’t show you on photos on this blog because I do not have photos of the Western Australian variations in markings.

    If you buy a field guide it will be of great use in teaching your daughter about our birds. Take her to any park or public gardens or the zoo or down to the river and show her the birds. Then show her the pictures in the guide and read her the information. She will love birds for the rest of her life.

  105. melissa says:

    hi for the last three years i have had a pet magpie i found him when he was a baby. today i came home and found he had got out of his cage and now he is gone. can you please tell me if he will come home?

  106. matt says:

    hi everyone just letting you know that we have added more pics to our web page of timmone here is the link

  107. Edna says:

    Hi Trevor
    nice to have some more pictures of Timmone, I thought you have a boy magpie, but I see from the pictures she is a little girl. She looks much like my mummy magpie that visits me everyday, I get so much joy out of my daily visitors.
    I had some very upsetting news from my daughter yesterday her friend is a wildlife rescuer, who had a phone call to say a young magpie bas being beaten by a man, at the time she was having a cuppa with a office of the RSPCA so they attended and the man responsible has been charged. How could any one attack a young bird like that is beyond me. I hope he gets one hell of a fine for doing this.
    I caught one of my maggies shaking my roses to see if any bugs fell out of them it was so amusing to watch them do this. Since they have been visiting my garden I have noticed the number of bugs etc has dramatically dropped, so it is good they are earning their keep.
    Trevor I love your site and reading all the mail from like minded people.

  108. matt says:

    hi edna thanks for visiting our site of our baby, from what we know south australian white backed magpies are difficult to tell apart till they are about 18 months old, but what we have found with timmone is that the back is getting whiter by the month, we have another huge male that hangs outside timmones cage but seems to want to taunt and wanting to fight with timmone as it drops its wings and growls alot at timmone, am not sure where you are from in aust as there are 3 types of magpies in australia, which i think is speckled, black backed and white backed magpies, but we are still waiting to find out, what we do know is that the male swoops and timmone does alot of that, but saying that timmone could still be a girl πŸ™‚

    regards matt/anita

    timmones owner

  109. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your comments Edna. I am pleased that you enjoy this site. I enjoy sharing my experiences and photos with my many readers (over 600 every day).

    We love to see our resident magpies searching for bugs and beetles through the garden and our extensive orchard. We would have a massive problem with snails too if the magpies weren’t keeping them under control.

  110. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the update Matt, and for the link to your photos of Timmone. I guess such an active bird keeps you busy every day.

    Just a small correction. The Australian Magpie is regarded as one species. There are three distinct races which do interbreed (where their ranges meet):
    Black Backed Magpie
    White Backed Magpie
    Western Magpie
    The fact that they interbreed mean that each is not a separate species.

    I wrote about this in more detail here

  111. Trevor says:

    Sorry Melissa – I almost forgot answering you question. It is hard to say if your magpie will come back now that he has experienced some freedom.

    On the bright side, magpies tend to be very territorial, meaning that they stay in one place all their lives. This area can be about the size of an oval or much bigger if there is not much food available.

    Because your bird was not a part of a territory where you live, he would be treated as an intruder by the local birds and chased off. He might team up with other young birds elsewhere until he starts breeding, at which time he will establish and defend his own territory.

    Sorry that I cannot bring you good news.

  112. matt says:

    thanks for that information trevor, we are still learning i guess, yes timmone does keep us busy thats for sure,

    hi melissa just letting you know that our magpie has got out a couple of times but we were fortunate to see where he went but once we found him/her by timmones distinct call that we were used too hearing as he wolf whistles and makes siren noises (police cars) , if you take a walk around you might find him around the neighbourhood



  113. matt says:

    hi trevor, matt here don’t know if you can tell as vets can’t, by looking at timmone in your opinion do you think timmone is a girl or a boy, timmone is from last years hatch lings, we are not sure but what i have observed is that timmones back is lighter grey than other magpies his/her age from last years batch, not sure if this is any indication of sex


  114. Trevor says:

    Hi Matt – I have looked carefully at your photos and compared them with my field guide. I think Timmone is still too young to say with certainty, but my guess is that your magpie is a male. The reason I say this is that the black sections are too dark to be a juvenile female, and the white sections are not grey or speckled enough. He probably will not take on full deep black and white until he is ready to breed.

    The only sure way is to get a vet to do a DNA test – which costs at least $40. Not really worth the money IMHO. Just give “him” time.

  115. matt says:

    hi trevor anita here,matts wife, thankyou for that i have always had the feeling that timmone was a boy i didnt think i could get used to saying she lol

  116. Isobelle says:

    Hi Trevor – I have been reading with interest the magpie stories and comments. An initial tribe of between 12 and 18 magpies started visiting my backyard 2 years ago, numbers have continued to grow, on any day it now varies between 24 and 34 with the larges influx a couple of weeks ago of 54. It took 2 photos to capture them. Could this be more than one tribe as they are all quite friendly with each other, although there has been an occasional skirmish, with one grabbing another by the foot and giving the victim a good shake, but neither flying off afterwards. I am grateful to have read of the recipe for food as I have not been sure what I should give them. I found out early on that they loved cheese but my son a pigeon breeder advised me against giving them too much. I have 2 banded birds visiting daily, one in particular is so trusting he walks into our dining room should the door be left open. He and about 10 others, some are getting their black and white feathers, and i now know from my reading here that they are about 2 yrs old. 2 birds each with a broken foot have not been back for about 2 months. There are a lot of cats in the area, which is a small residential estate of approx 150 homes and up until 12 mths ago it was surrounded by bush and wetlands, which has now been developed into housing and large shop and warehouse complexes. I have observed that my banded birds (presumably relocated mails) waiting for the ABBB to get back to me, after supplying the band numbers, and a couple of the others have quite defined hooks on their beaks and the majority don’t. Can you or anyone tell me why they have “hooked” beaks. I am off to buy the ingredients to make “magpie pellets” today. Thrilled to have found your website and blog.

  117. Isobelle says:

    Oops that should have been males not mails.

  118. Trevor says:

    Hi there Isobelle – welcome and thanks for the comments.

    What you are experiencing with so many magpies in a relatively small area is a group of non-territorial birds. These normally consist mainly of juveniles with some non-breeding adults.

    My reference books give no indication as to why some have hooked beaks and others do not.

  119. Isobelle says:

    Hi Trevor, Thanks for your reply.
    Regarding these non-territorial birds, approx.half of the juveniles’ are now looking quite scruffy with their grey feathers being replaced by black. The rest of the juveniles are possibly 1 yr old birds.
    Is it possible that all these juveniles have been the product of other breeding and territorial adults. If any of these non-territorials and maturing juveniles breed is it likely they will move to another area to nest. I have not seen any nests in this area.
    A few weeks ago I did see a couple of adult birds with nesting material in their beaks. It is only a short distance to the wetlands and native bush so I presume that could be their nesting area.
    Also there is usually a currawong and a crow keeping company with the large magpie group.
    The magpie group is quite vocal early in the morning.

  120. Trevor says:

    Isobelle, I think that you are correct in your comment about the juveniles gathering from other breeding adults. Sometimes these non-breeding, non-territorial groups can number over a hundred in one area, often in response to good food supplies.

    Eventually some – if not all of them – will move away and attempt to form breeding partnerships and a breeding territory of their own. In some cases this may take many years – 5 to 10 or more I understand. It probably depends on the availability of mates, nesting sites, food and space for a new territory. In some places, competition for all of these can be intense, and territories, once established, are vigorously defended by the dominant breeding male.

  121. June says:

    How lovely to be pointed in the direction of this great site! A net friend sent me the link after noting the lifespan of magpies, so I thought I would just mention that our pet magpie was at least 24 & 1/2 yrs old when killed by a ( very lucky ) stray cat. She was probably 6 months old when we got her from a private zoo. For all those yrs she ate what we ate, supplemented by whatever insects she found on our 800sq m section. Misguided folk here in NZ have declared war on the maggies, so I’m generally an odd-bod, with my collection of magpie stuff ( magnets,mobiles, cups, cards etc ) mainly sourced on my annual trips to Perth. I have the MAGPIE number plate too. I love the way you Aussies (generally) treat your wildlife.Lovely site – thanks!

  122. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my blog about Australian birds, June. Thanks for stopping by and telling your story. I think odd-bod people are the most interesting so you will fit right in here.

    Thanks for all the positive comments – I hope that you have reason to come back to my site often – I try to post a new article every day, usually with photos I have taken.

    My wife and I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful country, but it is on the plans in the foreseeable future. We regard it with much warmth (except during cricket/rugby matches) and some of our dearest friends come from New Zealand. The recently appointed pastor of our church is a Maori and many in our congregation travel to NZ for holidays.

  123. June says:

    Nice to get such a quick and warm welcome – thanks! You share my sentiments about odd-bods too. I’m officially retired now, but still do a bit of freelance writing for coffee money, and I find oddbods, weirdos , eccentrics ( whatever you want to call the most interesting folk) make the best stories.Right now is the best time to come to NZ – Spring is beautiful! March-April is another good time, but whatever you do, don’t come in winter or you’ll be put off forever!I’m heading back to Perth next week for arrival of #4 grandchild. This is the latest time of year that I’ve been so I’m not looking fwd to bumping into any of your spiders!( Yes, I know they won’t hurt me – but I sincerely feel I could have a heart attack if one walked on me.) We continue to live in our cold climate, mainly for that reason! How sad/weird is that eh? Where’s your Maori pastor from? Is that the Destiny church perhaps which gets a bit of a pasting here? Or LDS?

  124. June says:

    Trevor – I’ve just read back to find that you’re a writer too. I’ve never writtten 40,000 words though – that sounds pretty daunting. I have a teenage novel on the go, and write for the NZ school journal, a few mags, and the gardening column in our biggest dail paper. It makes for meeting interesting folk. Most people who are in to gardens are bird/animal inclined too, which is a bonus. I’ve written many stories starring our “Pie” – she’s quite small-town famous. I have a great collection of fact and fiction books and stories ( from Aust of course ) about magpies, and spend a lot of time defending them here ( with the pen, not the sword) against rabid farmers and conservationists. I think your site is going to give me much encouragement, and I promise to never again post three in a row!

  125. Don Wilkins says:

    I have been feeding a magpie family for about 40 years. The babies are kicked out by the parents after one season (or take over the area). I feed them (adults only) with pet mince from the butcher. When feeding young, the adults mix the mince with grass before taking it to the nest. However, the male (only) has to empty his crop before eating. Why only the male?

  126. Trevor says:

    June – you can post comments here as often as you please. The more the merrier I say. You don’t have to wait for me to comment either – you can converse with others who have left comments. This is one of the great things about blogs. There is a real sense of community developing here, and while we don’t all agree with each other, the discussions are stimulating and very interesting.

  127. Trevor says:

    Don – you ask a very interesting question. I admit that I do not know the answer.

    When I have the time I will do some more research on this. (This may take several days – the next four days will be one of those frantic times that seem to come every week or so. Sigh)

  128. Jenn says:

    Hi Trevor,

    About 2 weeks ago our kids found a baby magpie in our back paddock he was dehydrated, has only eye and a crooked beak. He has adult feathers on his wings but at that stage couldn’t fly real well. We thought he had been attacked by other birds being eyeless and the condition of his beak, we brought him up to the house and gave him drops of water, he perked up a little and his tongue became moister as the hours when by, his tongue was stuck to the inside of his beak. We proceeded to take him to the vet within an hour of discovering him as thought he should be checked over and were worried about infection if his eye had been peaked out. The vet said it looked like he had been born that way or it happened not long after hatching as the eye was healed over but couldn’t feel an eyeball, the crooked beak is of concern and can’t pick up food as the top of his beak does’nt meet together to allow the tweaser action so as to pick the food up, the vet said we could never set him free as he would surely die. We are hoping he will eventually be able to pick up balls of mince and manuvre the food down his beak by holding his head straight up, time will tell.
    He has been with us for 2 weeks and lives on a perch inside the house, we love “Patches” we are feeding him mince mixed with “Insectivore”, he is begining to water himself which is good, his sense of direction we have noticed trying to pick things up is off a little, he misses, but he is very amusing, he walks about the house and now flys onto my shoulder from his perch, he also has a daily bath, that has us in fits of laughter, he rolls around and really enjoys it.
    How do I know if he’s a boy or girl? If we talk to him will he learn to talk back? What is your opinion on clipping his wing as he will eventually be living on our verandah and only in a large cage when we are not home.
    I probably have more questions but that will do for now.
    Thanks Jenn

  129. Trevor says:

    Hi there Jenn,

    It sounds like you are taking good care of the new addition to your family. It will be nearly a full year before you can fully tell whether it is a male or female. The male has very distinct black and white feathers while the female has more grey speckled feathers, especially on the back where the male is pure white. This varies around Australia depending on which race of magpie lives in your area.

    I recall that some magpies in close contact with humans have learned a few words or sounds (eg whistles). I guess there is no harm in trying, but don’t expect the range that a parrot may exhibit.

    Clipping the wing should be fine, though you will have to do it regularly – not sure how often though.

  130. Harley says:

    Hey Jenn
    I read somewhere that it is not good to feed magpies mince over an extended period of time, because the preservatives can weaken their bones, causing really brittle bones.
    i think this is over a very extended period of time, but if possible try not to feed it too much mince.
    insects (crickets, worms, pretty much anything) is good, small pieces of fresh meat, Insectivore is great, boiled eggs, there are all sorts of ‘recipes’ available on the internet that substitute mince.
    I have heard from Matt (scroll a fair way up) – he raised a baby magpie who was a bit younger than yours, and his children played a lot of computer games, and their magpie now imitates the sound of police sirens! so yes, the can mimmic but i think its rare and not very developed
    good luck and keep posting your news on this blog
    hope this helped

  131. matt says:

    hi we have some new pics of timmone on here if anyone wants to see,

  132. SUZY WALKER says:

    Hi Trevor, answering the question on clipping birds wings,this lasts until the next moult, when they will then grow back again. When I get birds in for bird rescue that are obviously pets that have escaped, I always talk the distressed owners into allowing me to clip wings so that they will not have to go through the stress of losing their beloved pets again. Most owners have not known of this option but are more than happy to see this done, and a lot have come back to me to tell me how much more they are enjoying their pets.I have just rescued another baby Magpie that was being attacked by boys with a baseball bat but luckily was saved before being too badly injured and should make a full recovery, but will stay with me now,This little one is fed a mix consisting of mince, baby rice calcium and mashed peas and corn,also insectivore mix fed as wet pellets and is loving the mix, egg powder or cooked egg yolk can be added also, hope these hints help

  133. Jenn says:

    Gee, Thanks Trevor and fellow Magpie lovers, Harley, Matt & Suzy,
    That is valuable information to ensure “Patches” has a healthy life, especially the food mixtures! I thought surely there was other food requirements but did’nt want to attempt other food products just in case we made him sick, but now I know which direction to go.

    And hey, he is in my sons room watching computer games constantly and his perch is in front of the T.V, here’s hoping he picks something up and surprises us one day, we also whistle to him everyday and he sings now when we say to him “Sing a song” he seems to know what that means now, he is highly intelligent! The kids tell there friends he is “Physically challenged” cracked up my little girls teacher, Alyvia is 10 y/o this December and has only recently finished a 3 year treatment protocol for Leukaemia, she breeds white ringneck dove’s now and “Patches” is a great source of happiness! And yeah, we will keep you all informed about Patches progress.

    Thanks again for the input, much appreciated!

  134. Harley says:

    no problem πŸ™‚
    also i forgot, but a great thing to feed them is Pal’s puppy food (if its the dry stuff soak it in water)
    good luck

  135. matt says:

    hi jenn’
    our magpie Timmone makes a lot of different sounds his favourite thing is to wolf whistle, he does it so loud the neighbours used to think it was a human.
    you are in for a world of fun timmone keeps us constantly in fits of laughter.
    we got timmone when our son found him on the footpath a little pink thing with no feathers and his eyes not even opened yet, actually we didnt know what sort of bird he was.
    timmone is now 14 months old and a little groover he loves to lie on his back and giggles when we tickle him.
    i will warn you as your baby gets older and territorial you might find your bird will get nasty with people it doesnt know, for instance timmone likes to attack people he doesnt know but then again with my daughters best friend he likes to bluff her and do mock attacks but as she is used to him it doesnt phase as she knows it is all a game.
    timmone lives in our home and has free run of the house, he has a big cage in the laundry for bed, his bed time is 7:30 and he knows this and chucks tantrums like a two year old we also have a medium size aviary outside so he gets fresh air or when people come over during the day we put him out there so he doesnt hurt anyone.
    you are right in saying how smart the magpie is timmone is very smart.
    we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to care for such a special little character and a very naughty one at that lol as he is into everything and wants to be involved in all that we are doing

    good luck with patches

    regards matt/anita

  136. matt says:

    hi jen, just another note we downlaoded magpie sounds off the internet and it helps timmone sing like a magpie lol.

    reagrds matt

  137. karine says:

    i have a baby magpie as a pet and am just wondering if he will be ok in an outside cage with plenty of protection from the wind, and how often should i feed him? he has been inside at night up until now but it is not freezing at night anymore so i was thinking he would be ok.
    thanks karine

  138. matt says:

    hi karine,
    we make our pet magpie timmone fresh food every morning and he eats whenever he wants to we also leave a variety for him to choose from eg he has one bowl with meal worms and another container with crickets and also his wombaroo mixture,i guess you could say he is quite spoilt lol
    he also eats what we eat at meal times
    as for locking your baby in a cage i feel magpies need a lot of stimulation being they are so very smart
    iam not a magpie expert but with timmone as my experience i think he would get depressed being locked away.
    we bought timmone a bird harness off ebay and he quite enjoys walks it took him a while to get used to the harness but now he loves it

    good luck matt/anita

  139. Alison says:

    Hi Trevor
    what a great site
    i found a young magpie a couple of weeks ago he(well i don’t know if its he or she)looks as if he is not far off flying. i was really worried about feeding him and like many others that i have read about i have been feeding him mince and the occasional worm/bug when i could find it. i contacted a person that cares for injured wildlife and was really disppointed because she would not give me any advise, she kept telling me that he probably has some kind of infection and would need treatment. i’ve called him penguin, ( not sure why ) He seems really well and doesn’t appear to be sick, although i have noticed that sometimes his poop is runny, could that be a problem. i will be making up the food recipe that i got from your website, i am enjoying the stories and helpful hints, do i have to make sure he gets extra water i had been dipping his mince in it, but i won’t be feeding him mince any more.

  140. Alison says:

    i’ve bought some wombaroo insectivore mix but i am not sure how much to mix with the other ingrediants
    i can pal puppy
    weetbix ( unsure how much )
    i egg
    if somebody could let me know that would be great

  141. matt says:

    hi alison

    we usually put two teaspoons in timmones food

    hope this helps

  142. Michael says:


    We have some Magpies that have been coming to our balcony and feeding. It was a bit of fun but i am worried that they will become dependant. Now we have the parents and both children flying onto our balcony.

    We would love to keep freindly with them,but could you give us advice of whether we can feed them and if so what should we be careful off?



  143. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my blog Michael. Magpies can be very entertaining and very tame around humans they trust. Try not to feed them too much or too often – the occasional treat every few days should keep them returning. If you feed them every day they will become dependent on that food and this can be disastrous for them when you go away on holiday for several weeks.

    A far better way of attracting them – any bird for that matter – is to provide fresh water for them to drink and bathe in. This will attract plenty of birds throughout spring and summer especially. Remember to replace the water regularly and to clean the container.

  144. Jenn says:

    Thanks Harley & Matt,

    Thought I’d jump on here and give an update on Patches, he is doing very well indeed, he is quite demanding and fully reliant on us to feed him, I wonder if a vet could possibly do something about his beak? Maybe even having it filed may help somewhat, I will be looking into his problem deeper to try and find some possible solution for him. It seems to be getting worse and hooking at the end which makes it virtually impossible for him to pick up anything, poor little patches.
    Yesterday we thought we’d take him outside to see what he would do, he hung out with us on the verandah for about 20 mins then he jumped onto the railing had a look around and decided to go for a fly, he went to the nearest gum tree in our yard on the highest branch possible, he was happy there for about an hour then flew around the house to the front jacarandah tree, he stayed there and seemed to be eating ants with his tongue, he then flew around the back yard to a further gum tree then flew down onto the ground which we then walked over and he jumped up onto my sons shoulder and was happy to come back inside with him. He seemed very content to have a little fly around then come back to his safe haven, we were so proud of him but since he will be living on the back verandah soon we are going to clip his wing, we are worried he might land in a neighbours yard and get eaten by there dogs or cats, even though we have a large block of land we want him to be safe.
    Our cat & dogs are already accustomed to him being around as part of the family and don’t even batter an eyelid at him.
    Matt, thats soooo cute about “Timmone” giggling when you tickle him, it also made me giggle! Harley thanks for the pal puppy food tip, I will definately try it with him.
    Well thats all for now and I’ll let you all know how we go with his beak investigations, thanks again for the ongoing suppport in raring our new addition to our family, it’s just like having a newbourne in the house, Lol, and hey his bedtime is also 7.30 when he has his last feed.


  145. matt says:

    hi jen we trim timmones beak ourselves with a pair of nail clippers all we do is trim the top beak back in line with the bottom beak it is the same as clipping your finger nails it does not hurt in any way as long as you keep it the same length as the bottom

    we find we cant let timmone out to roam as he has got out a few times and got chased by other magpies and butcher birds
    we live on the coast near adelaide in the suburbs so we dont have the luxury of space

    but we do take him out on his harness every day and he loves it
    we always agreed if timmone ever looked or acted depressed we would give him to a magpie haven but we are 100% sure he is very happy and spoilt lol
    he gives us so much joy as we are sure we give him he absolutely adores us and is involved in everthing we do including going in the car to the pet shop on his harness with his dad to get his bugs and supplies
    we also have cats and timmone lets them know who is boss by swooping and trying to run off with their tails it is a funny sight
    with timmones food mixture we put wombarroo and puppy food with a bit of grated cheese as i make his mixture fresh everyday some days we dont add cheese but a bit of boiled egg also weetbix but he also eats everthing we do eg a bit of vegemite on wholemeal toast with the kids in the morning and lunch and has his own plate with the evening meal he loves banana and pineapple and a variety of vegies but he also has a container with meal worms and crickets at his disposal whenever he wants it
    i will say he his very humanised to the point where he only drinks out of a glass and wont touch the cats water he is such afunny little character we adore him
    regards matt/anita

  146. Jenn says:

    Thanks Matt,
    You are a wealth of information for me, I will endeavour to give him more variety regarding his diet, do you have the problem of his droppings everywhere in the house? This does worry me slightly due to having a child with a compromised immune system, bird droppings was one of the warnings from her oncologist, so I’m a bit paranoid. And yes thats a great tip about his beak, I will trim it tomorrow and not to mention the harness, what a great idea, any particular harness? Do you clip Timmones wings? I looked on the net and found a video which showed me how to do it but haven’t as of yet.
    We are spoiling patches too, so I know what you mean, we took him in the car to my parents house, he seemed to enjoy the ride, he even had a sleepover there, Lol.

    One more quick question, is there anything he shouldn’t eat?


  147. matt says:

    hi jenn,
    the only thing really they shoulnt eat is an overall amount of preservitives especially processed meat including mince it depletes their bone structure
    timmone loves chicken and beef raw and cooked i must admit if we have bacon and eggs so does he lol
    we chose not to clip timmones wings,even though he has the cats bluffed there is always that odd chance that if his wings were clipped he might not be able to fly to safety
    we have lost him a couple of times and had to hunt the neighbourhood which i must admit our heart stopped it was such a relief when we found him,
    actually he got out a couple of weeks ago luckily he flew straight to matt when some magpies chased him so we are very careful with the door
    he has a medium sized aviary out the back under the apple tree
    so he spends a few hours a day out there and plus his walks
    as for the poop we mop everyday and keep a roll of paper towell and a good antibacterial cleaner on hand
    the biggest and main poop of the day is that first one in the morning so we usually wait 15 minutes after timmone has woken up then he does it in his bed which is lined with paper so that makes it easier
    as for affecting health i am not sure all i can say is we have not been sick but we are always on the lookout for poop and clean it straight away
    we had to buy lounge covers but timmone rarely poops on them and when he does i just give them a wash
    it is a bit of work but he is worth it
    we bought the bird harness off ebay i think it is a large one for cockies and galahs,it took timmone a while to get used to it but now he loves it

  148. Heather says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just dropping by to say how very much I am enjoying your stories about your dear pet birds.

    I AM GREEN WITH ENVY!!! I have always had a secret longing for a pet magpie as I have heard time and again what fantastic pets they are. Living in rural Gippsland for the last two years, I have learned to keep my eyes peeled for injured wildlife; sadly the majority are roadkill when I see them, maggies, wombats and wallabies mostly. Once I found a live
    kookaburra with only half a beak, but the vet euthanased it as it would have no hope of living in the wild again.

    Anyhow, if there are any unloved baby magpies out there reading this…!!

    Seriously though I have great pleasure in our beautiful birdlife, and I love it when I am woken at 5am by my resident adult magpies wake me from the bird table at my bedroom window. They love the wild bird mix I put out for the parrots.

    I don’t imagine this would be doing them any harm, but if anyone has any advice on this matter I’d be pleased to know.

    Best wishes to you all, keep the stories coming, please!


  149. Jenn says:

    Lol Heather,

    Sorry, but you can’t have “Patches” we are now well and truely attached to him, there has been progress on his communications, this morning he did a little throaty “Wolf Whisle” my husband does it to him constantly, so he is out to impress the girls and give them a compliment, he is also chattering alot when we talk to him now. He also has a little plastic Golf Ball with holes in it, he chases it around the house and grabs it with his beak and tosse’s it, he also kicks it, he’s soooo incredibly funny, a great source of entertainment! I hope you come across a needy Magpie one day Heather, they are so intelligent, Patches is one of the family.

    Hi Anita/Matt,

    Thankyou once again for the info, I will stop mince pronto and give him steak & chicken, I actually gave him chicken this morning, cheese, insectivore pellets that we make and vegemite on toast also some broccoli, he loved it all, there is certainly nothing wrong with his appetite, I am very proud of him being able to water himself, this one thing we don’t have to do for him, he still can’t pick up food though, I think with time he will learn a system that works for him, I leave food down for him but he tends to miss, maybe thats the one eye factoring in as well as the beak problem, but I and the family are happy to hand feed him, he knows he only has to ask one of us and we’re on the job.
    Most people wouldn’t get sick from bird droppings only those with no immune system, our daughter had 3 years of chemo everyday for leukaemia, it was harsh, so her immunity is still recovering, she wasn’t even allowed in the chook house during treatment, she is now in remission, thank goodness, but I will do the same tricks as you with the mop and antibacterial wipes etc…he doesn’t seem to scout the whole house so it’s mainly the kitchen/lounge area that seems to be his territory. I have also noticed the morning poops, he usually does them in his cage (which he now sleeps in at night, right at the front door) he is our security guard as well Lol, he is more than a bird thats for sure!

    I’ll update again soon with more “Patches Pantomimes” Lol, bye for now all


  150. matt says:

    hi jenn,
    have you been to timmones website and had a look it has some of him now and if you click on baby timmone you will see him when he was 6 weeks old we are pretty sure when we got him he was only a day or so old
    i am glad to here your little girl is in remission and can totally understand your concerns but i my opinion would be is because patches is inside and doesnt have the opportunity to catch normal bird ailments it could make a difference i am no means an expert though
    yes timmone has a lot of toys also we get him kitten toys his favourite is a rubber bouncy ball he chases it up and down the hallway
    also i dont know what patches has in the way of a bath we have a large dogs bowl but his favourite thing is to shower with us,he also lets us know when he wants a shower he stands on the shower rail and sings and we put the shower on and he goes in and out for about half an hour til he is saturated it is quite a sight lol
    it is good to talk to someone who has a baby like us and treasures their pet like we do
    regards anita/matt

  151. Heather says:


    Well, can you CLONE him for me…hehe

    On the way home tonight I stopped the car to inspect yet another baby on the roadside, but it was gorn, as usual. I have never noticed so many as I do in this particular area, driving between Mirboo North and Trafalgar via Thorpdale every day as I do. You would think people would learn to watch out for them, as I do… but I am informed that SOME deliberately aim for them.

    On a brighter note, I am counting bird species that I observe on my property (5 acres) and yesterday was able to add number 34 to my list, in the form of a Spotted Pardalote, yay. Not that I am a “twitcher” (well, not quite) but I love noticing what goes on around my place, particularly under my big Acacia tree where the bird bath is.

    Regards to all bird-lovers,


  152. Trevor says:

    Hi there Heather – welcome to the wonderful world of birding. It is so rewarding as you are finding. Keeping a list is a great idea. I’ve been keeping a garden list (and dozens more of other places) for about 25 years. Fascinating how things change.

    If you want to know more about the sorts of things to do as a birder, check out the series of articles I wrote here several years ago:

    Of course – you don’t have to do anything except enjoy the birds. Costs nothing – but the benefits are enormous. For example, we and our visitors get enormous pleasure out of watching the parade of birds visiting our bird bath.

    Happy birding – at whatever level you decide on.

  153. Jenn says:

    Hi All,

    Wish I could clone him for you Heather, he’s running around my desk as I type, he likes my company through the day.
    That makes me mad when people aim for wildlife, I see lots of road kill especially “Water Monitors” or dragons & tortoises. We have a friendly achidna that visits in summer every night and hope he is not a casualty one day like our brushtail possum was, we were so upset, he visited everynight for fruit, we had an eastern rosella for years her name was “ozzy” she spoke a few things like “Good on ya mate” she was in a tree that was cut down and we rescued her, she was only a little bubby at the time and had her for 10 years until a ferral cat got her on the verandah one night in her cage.
    We have many parrot varieties around here amongst all the common birds, lots of owls also.

    Anita/Matt, my friends have 2 galahs that both had broken wings, they can’t fly and are pets, the older one showers every morning with it’s owner the younger one is still mending the wing at the moment, no doubt it will do the same, I will try it with patches now that he is completely settled in, thanks for the tip, I’ve just been putting a stainless steel dish down for him to flutter in, he seems to like a wash around mid morning but I reckon he’ll be hilarious in the shower, I give it a go! I’ll also try a little stuffed toy with him, we have hung some things on his perch, he tends to hang from them and have a swing Lol, there is no end to the humour!

    bye for now all


  154. Heather says:

    Jenn, Anita and Matt,

    I am getting greener and greener with envy….!


  155. matt says:

    hi it too breaks my heart to hear about cruelty to our poor defenseless wildlife i dont know how people can be so callous

    hi jenn, timmone also likes to hang upside down off anything possible

    he hangs upside down off the lounge lightshade giving kisses we tell him he is as mad as a cut snake lol
    just this morning he was hanging by one leg chattering away to himself
    not to mention i thought i would have a lay in but timmone thought otherwise by standing on my head and pulling my hair and giving lots of kisses he of course won the battle lol

    i would love to live in the country so i too could meet all of the wonderful wildlife
    regards anita/matt

  156. Heather says:

    It’s getting worse now, I probably look like a female Shrek!


    I used to have a pet cockatiel who firmly bonded herself to me, and I guess I still miss her….

    Thanks for you comments, Jenn and Matt and Anita, they are GREAT.

    If ever you’re going to be in Gippsland, come one down! Yes, I am lucky to live where I do, it feels like heaven most of the time, and I love to share it.

    Best wishes,


  157. matt says:

    hey jen
    how is patches going
    timmone is well still as naughty as ever lol

  158. Eve says:

    What a wonderful website..I have to say I have learned so much from the tips on here. I have been recently asopted by a whiteback Magpie. He is a NZ wildlife hospital rescue baby. The posts on here have helped so much. He was 6 weeks old when we got him..He is now a bouncing 3 month old and full of beans..He has us in stitches with his antics. He plays peekaboo with my husband and tells him off loudly if he cheats! lol..He is amazing and has bought heaps of laughter into our house. When do I wean hem as he is still screaming loudly for food to be shovelled into his beak..He is a real pig!

  159. Trevor says:

    Hi there Eve – thanks for the compliments about this site. I really enjoy sharing my birding experiences with people from all over the world. This month there have been visitors from about 117 different countries.

    In the natural environment the juveniles can often beg for food for up to a year after hatching. They are quite capable of fending for themselves after a month or so, but, like all teenagers, asking mum and dad for a feed is so much easier.

  160. Caroline says:

    Hi Trevor, I live in Melbourne and have 2 magpies that spend all their time in my backyard. One of them is the dominant one and it always comes to my front and back door looking for me to feed it, while the other one sits on the fence waiting. Sometimes the 2nd one will fly down to try to get some food from me and the dominant one starts pecking it while holding it down on the ground. I am guessing the dominant one is a parent. I don’t think the 2nd one is a baby though as it has similiar markings to the dominant one. How can I tell if they are male or female?


  161. Andy says:

    Great blog for all us Maggie lovers. Just wanted to reinforce the concept that some are expert mimics. My husband and I were gardening one day and distinctly heard a magpie, who had landed quite near us, imitate dog barks, horse whinnies, car noises, cow moos and the funniest one- a lady yelling at someone!! All delivered one after another, clear as a bell, interspersed with standard magpie fluting. We looked at each other like- “Did you hear what I just heard?? Did that magpie just do something that sounded exactly like a horse whinnying in a paddock and did that one sound like a lady yelling?”

    Unfortunately,this bird never came back. We used to listen intently for those crazy noises in all the maggies that visited us, but only standard sounds from them.

    It was soooo funny and showed how amazing they are.

  162. Trevor says:

    Welcome Caroline – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    The male magpie is always a glossy black with a prominent white nape. The female is usually greyer on the nape and duller black.

  163. Trevor says:

    Hi there Andy – thanks for visiting my blog and leaving you kind comments.

    I recently observed a magpie in the Belair National Park near Adelaide. It was a few metres from where we were having a picnic and it starting warbling – then broke into a soft but unmistakable kookaburra laugh.

  164. shirley says:

    Not sure if anyone here can help – I know nothing about Magpies or birds but we have an injured baby magpie in the yard that appears to have a broken wing or damage to it’s wing. I think a cat or something has had a go at it and it is injured. Should we leave it or try to help it? Not sure if we will make it worse for the magpie by stressing it? As it is late at night – there is probably no resources available to do anything so not sure what I should do? Any advice would be great.

  165. matt says:

    hi shirley i would certainly bring the baby inside and keep it warm put it in a quiet place until the morning when you can get help i think the baby would have a better chance inside than being left to the elements and ferral animals put it in a box with a hot water bottle even a 2 litre bottle with hot water wrapped up would suffice if it has been out there a while it might be dehydrated so i would put some water on a teaspoon and gently pour it in also it could be hungry so i would suggest some weetbix or if you have dog food a little of that mixed with weetbix i am no expert but we do have our own baby who we have reared for the last 18 months since he was a hatchling with no feathers his name is timmone good luck

    regards anita

  166. anita says:

    What a wonderful site where people can talk about their love of birds. So here’s mine.
    I’m an animal lover – unfortunately I love cats and dogs, so birds don’t particularly love my backyard. But I seem to have a great affinity with them.
    I picked up a baby bird a couple of years ago, flapping around the corner of a factory, so I took it home expecting it to die. It didn’t, and for the next 3 months I immensely enjoyed the company of – well it is known as a pest so I won’t tell you but you’ll guess. It went everywhere on my shoulder, pooed outside on request, and had me laughing so much! But because of the cat and dog I had to give it to someone else because it wouldn’t fly away! Birds are the best pets.
    Also, little honey eaters fly into the factory when the roller door is open, and they don’t know how to fly down and out. So I just take a small branch of their favourite tree up to them, and talk gently to them for about 5 minutes. They end up on the branch fluttering about and getting their fill, and I quietly walk down the stairs and outside to their tree. It’s such a fulfilling feeling being at one with birds.
    Also just to let you know, baby birds fly out of the nest and find somewhere to hide till they are strong enough to fly. So if you find a baby hiding somewhere on the ground, leave it. It’s just waiting for a feed.
    Another Anita

  167. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my bird blog Anita. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave your story. I hope you find this site a friendly – and with many helpful people as regular readers.

  168. anita says:

    Thanks Trevor
    I’m also feeding (bits of mince) to a currawong up the street with a couple of babies. She knows my voice now and follows me, making her presence known.

  169. Erin says:

    our friend across the road found a baby Magpie and he knew thati love any animal, so he rang it over.
    I really adore it, it flys around our house a is vey healthy,
    i was just wondering how i tell if it is Male or Female
    ( its about 2 mouhs old )

    Thanks alot, Erin

  170. Erin says:

    hi it erin again could yo get the anser to me ASAP thanks

  171. Trevor says:

    Hi there Erin – sorry about the delay in answering. Over the last few days I have been travelling from Adelaide to Sydney and have not had any internet access.

    It is not easy to tell between male and female magpies for many months. They are all generally duller and greyer and more mottled than the female. You will have to wait for some time I’m afraid.

  172. Allan says:

    We have been feeding some magpies in the wentworthville area, one has no foot and another one we have noticed that it has fishing line wrapped around it’s legs, how can we catch it to get it line off? We have up too 22 magpies in our small back yard. This morning 02/01/09 we had 18 pies in our yard.

  173. Trevor says:

    Hi there Allen, welcome to my blog. Catching a wild magpie is way beyond my expertise I’m afraid. Can I suggest that you contact your local vet, animal welfare group or fauna rescue group for advice eg

  174. Isobelle says:

    Hi Allen,
    We had a similar situation, a magpie with what appeared to be fishing line around its foot/toes. After contacting a magpie relocater, he advised that if the bird was really quite unafraid of us we maybe able to catch it in a fish landing net, and one hold it, and the other (myself) remove the line. The line was embedded in the flesh and toe was being curled backwards. We were successful in removing the line by carefully cutting it in as many places as we could get the points of the scissors and then using tweezers to slowly remove the line. The bird stayed extremely still as if it new we were helping it. We released it immediately and it sat on our fence preening itself for quite a while afterwards. The following day it returned and waited at the door for a cheese treat, this went on for a few days, now it still comes back occasionaly looking for a treat (cheese or kangaroo mince- the latter recommended to us by the relocater). The toe has uncurled but still has a little swelling on the joints. We have noticed other Magpies in the group with similar swelling on the the joints, so maybe it is natures way when the joints of the toes have been traumatised. A happy ending and a very happy magpie, who visits frequently. I must add that we have “creche” situation so the fledglings (sometimes up to 50) don’t hang around for too long as once they have paired up they seem to leave the area. At the moment there are about 20-30, with noticably older birds, and in particular 3 banded birds who were relocated about 50 klms who have found their way to this area. The main attraction being plenty of water and food, and very friendly residents, in an estate of about 200 houses.

  175. Trevor says:

    Thanks for helping out Isobelle.

  176. Allan says:

    Thanks for the reply’s Trevor and Isobelle. The magpie in question is vary wary of us. Will try something next time we see it.

  177. andy says:

    Hi Allan and everyone-
    We had an injured female magpie that started visiting us last year. She had a badly twisted up left foot- so bad that she walks on the ‘ankle’ joint, as all the toes are twisted skyward. It might have been some line or thread that caused this injury. I started feeding her a little bit as I felt sorry for her condition. When I called Parks and Wildlife about her, they told me that she probably would not live and to stop feeding her, but I figured I would help her out until nature took its course.
    Glad to say that she made it through winter, is very healty and shiny now, has her full adult plumage and looks a treat. She only comes every few days to get a bit of roo meat. A few of her opportunistic mates have joined the morning line up, but they also seem to be the less than perfect ones- bad wings, small immature ones, cloudy eyes. I am happy to give them a little boost, as they still forage for themselves and only show up every few days for a treat. They line up patiently, with only a few squabbles and loud callings.
    I hope our little “Hoppy” is not in too much pain with her twisted foot. She seems to just get on with it. She is a brave little spirit and as I teach children with special needs, I recognise the brand. I think we all have to do what we can and I hope you can catch and tend to the one with the line on its foot. Even if she is permanently injured, she can still live out her life happily and it will be nice to know that you helped in that process. Good luck.

  178. Isobelle says:

    Hi Allan, Andy, Trevor and everyone,
    We do have another magpie, which is very regular, (as with most of them every 3 or 4 days) who has become so fearless that if the door is open walks into our dining area and calls out.
    This one has one rear toe curled aroud over the back toe, and manages to stand and forage quite well, the only times I notice these “hoppies” having difficulty is when they attempt to land to quickly on the paling fence.
    The banded birds (who once were swoopers – which is hard to believe they were aggressive territorial birds) are also very fearless and will walk in the door too.
    In addition they are so fearless, that my two maltese dogs can be laying on the mat, or in the yard and the birds take no notice, once the dogs have done their business and come back inside, the birds tend to follow them. It helps that the dogs completely ignore them.
    An excellent book you may try to get is called, Magpie Alert, Learning to live with a wild neighbour, which is very comprehensive in relation to the subject of magpies. The author Darryl Jones, who at the time of publication in 2002 was a Senior Lecturer in Ecology in the Australian School of Environmental Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane.compiled this from Research Papers and Scientific reviews specialising on the Australian magpie (1903-2001), and Unpublished Research Reports, University studies and Theses dealing with Australian Magpies.
    Good luck with your “rescue and repair”. The relocater told me that with the fishermen’s net (extended handle) you sometimes only get one chance as it can scare the bird off, and it may not return for a little while. We were lucky, and so was the magpie I guess. If any one would like more information regarding the book mentioned above and or to see photos of our rescue operation, I would be happy to share them with you.

  179. Timmo says:

    Happy New Year all,
    I have been in the role of surrogate mother for a baby magpie that landed in my yard some 3 weeks ago. It was not able to fly well and was under attack from neighbouring cats. I rescued it and put it into my small avery measuring 3mx3mx2m. I made a mixuture of mince and Wambaroo Insectivore rearing supplement and started hand feeding. This has been going very well but also very demanding. The filght has improved greatly and I hope I can release him/her sometime soon. I have observed many behaviors and Im not too sure what they mean. I spend about 2-3 hours over the day in the avery feeding, digging and observing. While im in the avery the maggie continually stays close to me and making many different vocal calls. Im familiar with the hunger vocals now. Quite often maggie will fall onto its side and become vocal playing with my shoe laces and picking at my shoes. If I don’t pay any attention it flies up onto my knee and will start picking gently at my fingers and hands. As soon as I move them, it goes into the submissive postion of falling onto its side or back and become vocal. I don’t think this is a fear reaction? I have been keeping details notes, vocal recordings and video footage to try and better understand this wonderful bird. If anyone has any info on behavior patterns and meanings I would be interested in hearing from you. Ta

  180. matthew says:

    hi we have a magpie we raised from a hatchling he is now 18 months old our magpie ‘timmone’ also likes to lay on his back we find it his him playing he also lays on his side and plays with our feet and shoes
    it is definately not a fear reaction as when timmone is scared he really lets you know with high pitched screams eg he doesnt like the rubbish truck and he flies around the lounge room screaming
    if you read a bit further back on here you will see all we have written about the care of our baby
    hope this helps
    regards matt/ anita

  181. Trevor says:

    Thanks Isobelle, Timmo and Matthew for your valuable comments and insights and experiences. Very interesting reading. (And you kept this story going while I was away on holidays with limited internet access – thanks.)

  182. Heather says:

    Hi all,

    I am SO stoked as at last my resident Maggie Pair (Mr and Mrs Myagi or is it Miyagy) have finally produced another baby after my dogs killed their first, in September.

    I think they made a new nest as I have only observed the three of them at the old nest in the last couple of days, but baby M has been around for a couple of weeks!

    I found this blog in September and I was greatly comforted, not to mention entertained, by everyone’s magpie stories and have been keeping up-to-date through the email alert, which is great, thankyou!

    Anyhow, long live Magpies, and long live you, Trevor, for bring us this wonderful mode of communication.

    Best Wishes,

    Heather (Gippsland).

  183. Julie says:

    Hi Trevor,
    I have spent about half an hour reading all the comments on magpies, and it’s wonderful to know there are others like me out there! I found your blog as I was searching for information on an orphaned magpie we have noticed in the last 3 days.

    We have noticed a fledgling magpie who may be orphaned, since we had heavy winds a few days ago. We have kept watch for it for the last 3 days but none of the resident adult magpies are feeding it, whilst they feed their other (older) fledglings. This one is still quite fluffy and not very good at flying, although it can, just make it to higher places if necessary. It either sits on the garage roof with its head pointing straight up to the sky and its beak open, or on the ground in a similar stance. We have thrown it some raw steak which it can get down after a few tries, and I have noticed it drinking water from our bird bath, so it seems to be eating and drinking, but not enough I fear. I am worried it may not be getting enough to eat given that a parent is not constantly feeding it. It spends most of its day on the ground or the garage roof looking up at the sky. I worry about it at night if it hasn’t got a nest to go to. The other adult magpies (3) and fledglings ignore it, and when I try and feed it some of the adults steal the food from under its nose. When an adult magpie goes near it (to take its food) it has a pitiful little squeak like it is wanting to be fed, but of course, they aren’t its parents and won’t feed it. it is breaking my heart. It is wary of us and will not come close enough for us to feed it by hand, apart from thowing food near it. I have tried to contact a few wildlife places over the weekend, including FAUNA but they haven’t returned my emails. As it is not injured or sick I wasn’t sure whether to bother the RSPCA. Can anyone help with some advice, either on what to do or what to feed it?

  184. Hi I recently found a baby currawong {that my dog nearly caught
    he is able to fly minimal about knee maybe hip height he is quite friendly,I have been feeding him with a syringe approx 3ml of baby cereal,Im just unsure of what to feed and how often,I would really appreciaye anyones help!my email is Thanks guys

  185. Mafalda says:

    Hello there,
    I am bringing a hand raised 5 months old magpie (pica pica) home. I would like to know what to feed it. In my country there is little information on caring for this birds in captivity (as it is not exactly legal to keep one). On the internet there is not much information either. Can you please give me a hand? The few information I managed to gather in my country says that chicken’s mix is enough… somehow I doubt that, so if you can help me, I would appreciate it very much.

  186. Trevor says:

    HI there Mafalda,

    Welcome to my blog about wild Australian birds.

    From your IP address I can see that you live in Portugal. The Common Magpie Pica pica is not related to the Australian Magpie. I do not know anything about this species and its habits. You will need to keep on looking in your country for advice.

    This article gives a list of the foods that they eat:

  187. Mafalda says:

    Hello there

    Thanks but I have already solved the food problem.


  188. Hi There…
    With interest I have read some of your site.
    We live on a cattle property in central Queensland.
    We have hand raised our baby maggy called jimmy since the first week in november 08.Typical of that time of year, thunder storm and on the ground, wet through, parents flying around panicing, have no idea how to get him back up in the nest. He is the most wonderful character. Our daughter has a Jack Russell dog, female, 7 year old (very spoilt)…and they are jealous of each other….Jimmy is usually the winner of any disagreements. I think everyone in the distict is now familiar with him, he loves it when we have visitors, sometimes I think he knows how to show-off!!! BUT the big question is we are now wondering if he is a jimmy or a janey. How do you tell the difference in sexes? We have 5 or 6 other magpies that have come to live in the garden now(we are hoping it is his parents and the other baby that survived and stayed in the nest, as we found him only a kilometre from the house), and we often sit and study their features to see if we are getting any closer to working it out… So pleased to have found your web site.Can you answer my question? Vikki

  189. Trevor says:

    Hi there Vikki – thanks for visiting my birding site.

    In the first few months it is hard to tell the sex of a baby magpie. I’m away from home at present and don’t have access to my reference books. Do you have a bird field guide – or can you borrow one from someone or a library? The illustrations will show the different plumages at different stages.

  190. Jenn says:

    Hello Trevor and all,

    I haven’t looked in for a while, it’s nice to read so many others caring for Magpie’s. Well “Patches” is doing just fine, the whole family loves him/her (we are thinking “Her” but aren’t completely sure), we are entertained on a daily basis by Patches.
    I trim Patches beak regularly and we are happy to annouce that she can now pick up food and feed herself which took time and alot of encouragement, we were like proud parents when our baby began to feed independantly, lol, as we never thought she would with her beak problem.
    We decided to cut 3-4 flight feathers off each wing to keep patches grounded but can still fly slightly. She lives on her perch on the back verandah with the 2 dogs and cat! Patches is so cheeky sneaking up on the cat whilst sleeping to play with his tail, the cat just looks with this “Stupid Bird” expression and continue’s on with sleeping. As Matt and others have said patches also just flops on her side and plays, the kids love it, our son Max is the official owner of patches and what a bond they have, we have pictures of Max nursing patches on her back like a baby while he is playing the computer, she just lays there happily with no objections lapping up the love, lol. She also plays with our feet as mentioned by others or will just stand on our feet when she wants a cuddle, Max has also taught her to fetch like a dog, he has this little cane stick that he throws and Patches brings it back every time, she’s truely an amazing bird.
    The other day Max had just finished feeding her in the front yard, she flew up onto the front fence watching what was going on in the street, she noticed 2 girls walking down the street coming our way so she just watched and didn’t take her eye’s off them, as they got closer walking past her she let out this very loud and precise “Wolf Whistle”, well the girls cracked up laughing and the next door neighbours who were happily gardening practically rolled in laughter as well, not to mention us also, so does that mean Patches is a boy? Lol! How fitting though was that wolf whistle, when we taught Patches the whistle we had no idea that she would know when to use it, lol, Oh how highly intelligent is our beautiful Patches, well thats about it for “Patches Pantomimes” for the moment.
    Anita/Matt, I hope Timmone is just as cheeky and naughty as ever, sorry for my late reply, had computer nitches in amongst ill kids, but all fixed now. Who would ever have known a Magpie could bring so much joy to our house, we certainly needed it after our daughters 3 year battle with Leukaemia, when I’m down Patches always manages to cheer me up like nobody else can!

  191. matt & anita says:

    hi jen
    i just saw your lovely email about patches
    yes timmone is still gorgeous and naughty
    he gives us joy every day
    he is always doing something comical
    timmone is fine with our immediate family but when visitors come around he goes in his cage,he can get very territorial
    patches sounds just like timmone in her affection giving lol
    yes they are so very intelligent timmone also wolf whistles and does sirens and his new one is the phone
    timmone is now 2 and so lovely
    its great to hear of another family who has had the priveledge of meeting and knowing such a wonderful addition to our families
    take care
    matt &anita

  192. Jenn says:

    Hey matt & anita,
    That was a quick reply, how nice. You have said before that timmone can be territorial, tell me, does he fluff up his feathers when he does that, as sometimes patches will do this with certain people, she can’t swoop anyone as we took out some feathers (very neatly I might add, we don’t cut across the wing so you can’t tell), so I wonder if it’s her way of telling someone she doesn’t like them.
    Alyvia took patches for show n tell at school, what a hit that was, she was on her best behaviour she sat on every kid in the class, they loved her and the teachers were facinated as well.
    Aren’t magpie’s just great! You must be getting fit running to the claytons phone all the time, lol.


  193. matt & anita says:

    hi jenn
    when timmone is territorial he fluffs right up and drops his wings and puts his head back and makes quite a distinctive sort of a growl
    he has swooped people and caused damage he only started it as he got older
    timmones wings are not clipped just because of all of our other animals
    he goes outside on a harness for his safety we have lost him twice but my husband found
    him very quickly because he does not sound or act quite like a wild magpie
    so we are very careful not to leave him out of his house cage when visitors come he can get quite aggressive
    but with us he is very loving
    there are the odd couple of people he accepts which is our sons friend and our daughters best friend also
    but anyone else he lets them know by jumping around his cage all fluffed up clacking his beak at anyone who comes too close
    they are very particular but i must admit its those little quirks which i love he has his own little personality and he lets ya know it
    he is the most spoiled and adored pet in our home pretty much whatever he wants he gets lol

  194. matt & anita says:

    hi jenn and all
    just aquick note if ya want to see more of timmone he is on our facebook
    just look for matthew hamilton and our profile pic is timmone so it should be pretty easy to find
    cheers matt & anita

  195. Jenn says:

    Thanks matt/anita, I will have a look, I don’t do facebook or have a site to post a picy of “Patches” maybe oneday when I get my act together, just trying to mellow out at the moment and taking time to smell the roses and destress!

  196. fatman says:


    I live in Perth and have a family of four magpies that visit twice a day (Shane, Wayne, Blane & Luigi). Unfortunately Luigi, the baby (about 6 months old) of the family, has lost his top beak πŸ™ The only way he can eat is if I lob food into his mouth.
    I’ve phoned Wildcare and a couple of vets and they’ve indicated that he’ll probably have to be put down. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who could take him in and care for him or if there was someone that I could get to make him an artificial beak.

    Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

  197. SUZY WALKER says:

    Hi Fatman, It was quite sad to hear about you’re little Magpie Luigi and his lack of top beak,if he has got some of his top beak left, I wonder if it is possible to have a fibreglass one made and glued in place?. if he has nothing there at all then it would most definately need to be euthanased for its own welfare as it could never fend for itself and would be a 24/7 effort for the rest of its life to just keep it fed , not taking into account the fact that these birds are cleanliness fanatics who love to bathe and preen in order to keep their feathers waterproof and in top condition, which is something that we as humans can’t do very well for them. They also spend hours digging and scratching around in the dirt and without the top of its beak missing this would also be taken away from him leaving ,I feel a pretty bleak sort of life.This is not an easy decision for any one to make and my heart goes out to you, All the best Suzy

  198. SUZY WALKER says:

    Hi Trevor, I have just been lucky enough to spend two weeks in NSW in Cawdor, it was my first time in OZ and I couldn;t get over the number of beautiful birds you have over there, I particularly fell in love with the little Magpie Larks and of course the choughs and currawongs, but also one bird that really took me heart and soul was the Tawney Frogmouth, what a stunning bird. While there I had a look around Featherdale wildlife Park at the amazing collection of birds they had and I was in seventh heaven. I think I will be wanting to live over there in future and carry on my bird rescue efforts there. Keep up the fab website.Suzy

  199. Andy says:

    Hi Fatman-

    I too live on Perth and have an assortment of disabled maggies that come around – broken wing, gnarled foot etc. They seem to do alright as I only see them every few days for a bite to eat then they go off to do their thing. Perhaps Murdoch Uni Vet Clinic would have a look at the one with the missing beak. They are always looking for cases to try out new techniques. Might give your little one a fighting chance?

    Let us know how it goes. Good luck and know that whatever you do, you did the best you could.

  200. Jenn says:

    Oh poor little Luigi, our little Patches has a crooked beak something like a pair of scissors, we hand feed Patches 3 times daily with insectivore pellets, rice & egg, roo meat, meal worms and a variety other little snacky things. Patches can manage to pick things up but it takes him a while and with his missing eye he misjudges where the food actually is but he’s slowly getting there, Patches is 12 mths old this september and is a joy to have even though he can be time consuming we luv him-or possibly her? How is Luigi’s tongue? Does it dry out being constantly open to the air or does he manage to drink and keep it moist? It would be such a shame to put him down as they are great pets when there reliant upon someone. Thats a great suggestion from Andy, I’d give it a go, I hope it all works out for the best anyhow, I wish you and especially Luigi lots of luck.

    Another quick note Patches does pretty well on morning & afternoon feeds only as well.

    Best Jenn

  201. Kimberly Gamon says:

    I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I found a baby Magpie in the road. It looks like the other babies have pecked him and pushed him out of the nest. One of his eyes is all bloody he has lost alot of feathers. I contacted a local bird aviary, they said to contact the Utah Division of Wildlife, but they are closed until monday. Does anyone have any advice for me? I would like to nurse him back to health. Poor thing.

  202. Andy says:

    Bless you for coming to the poor thing’s aid- keep him warm and in the dark and quiet. Do not try to give it anything to eat or try to force water into its beak. It will most likely aspirate anything you force into its mouth and then it will get a respiratory infection. Warm and quiet and dark is the main thing until you can get it to a vet. However, if it starts to make some noises and it opens its beak when it sees you, try offering it some very tiny dangly strips of very moist meat, as you probably don’t have any bird rearing mix. It is unlikely that it will try to feed, but if it does take it from you (no forcing) that is a really good sign. Good luck!

  203. Kimberly Gamon says:

    SLC Magpie
    The bird is doing much better today. I gave him some water and pureed cat food. He is lifting his head and making noises. I cleaned up his eye. I think they pecked it out. His good eye was shut yesterday but today it is open. He’s doing well. Thank you! Kim from Salt Lake City, Utah.

  204. Andy says:

    That is great news!! Birds are so difficult to care for, especially babies, but if he is still alive after 24 hours and is asking for food, then you might be in with a chance. The vet can give you antibiotics and assess what to do next when you see them. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  205. Kimberly Gamon says:

    SLC Magpie Update
    Malachy(his new name) is doing great! I cleaned up his injured eye with a warm washcloth and he opened it up so he did’nt loose it like I thought. He’s much more active now. Even preening himself and sqwacking a bit. I’ve decided to keep him until he can fly. My Chihuahua-Cujo, is very jealous but he’s curious to see just what this thing is that I’m talking to. I looked it up on the net he is a Black billed Magpie. They are very beautiful. Black and white but in the sun the black feathers turn green and blue kindof like a Peacock. I will keep you updated.
    Thanks again.
    Kim-Thee Animal Lovin’ Saint.

  206. Fatman says:

    Update on Luigi

    About 2 weeks ago I got home from work to find Luigi waiting in my back yard with his bottom beak now missing. At first he was having trouble judging where the ground and the food was but I think he’s learning to adjust.

    He’s eating well and seems to be in good health at the moment. I went out and bought the recommended foods ie insectivore and some worms, I think my maggies have been a bit spoilt on diced steak and other leftovers as none of the birds would touch the insectivore or the worms….? I ended up buying some Kitten food – minced lamb with added calcium and they really love it. When Luigi eats he reminds me a bit of a lizard with his stumpy beak. His tongue seems to be protected which what’s left of his beak.

    I plan to monitor Luigi and if his health declines I’ll take him in to the Murdoch Vet.

    Thanks to all who posted advice and expressed concerns for Luigi.

  207. Bobbi Goczan says:

    I have rescued a baby magpie and he seems to be doing quite well. I am afraid to let him go but what can I do to train him to come back to me once he starts flying.

  208. Bobbi Goczan says:

    Please let me know the best way to treat this baby magpie that seems to be ready to fly.

  209. Jenn says:

    Hi bobby,
    When we rescued Patches he could barely fly and was very weak, he was a baby but had all his flight feathers, after hand feeding him for about a month he was flying around the house, 2 weeks after we put his perch on the back verandah and watched what he was gonna do, he sat on the perch for about 1/2 hour but was looking at all the birds flying around and the tree’s, I could see he wanted to fly and he did, he flew to the highest point of the tallest gum tree in our yard, he stayed there for a while then flew from tree to tree within our yard boundaries, he was flying about for hours then decided it was time to come back to the verandah, I do believe these babies know the hand that feeds them and will return. Patches is totally dependant upon us and knows it, we decided to cut out the first 3 flight feathers on each wing, not because we thought he was gonna fly away but for safety reasons as he thinks cats n dogs are his friends and we were worried about him landing in somebody’s yard with dogs n cats that would eat him. Patches lives happily on the back verandah with the dogs n cat and can fly a certain distance from the verandah into the yard to forage but not well enough to scale the fences into danger. Maybe give your bird a bit of trust and see where he goes, are you keeping him as a pet or intending on releasing him back into the wild, I find Magpies always come back to where they are fed, hope this helps.


  210. Inge Masic says:

    Hi people out there, we live near Lancelin WA and we found a baby magpie. what can I feed “Rudi”, have tried Mincemeat for 4 days, but now he seems to get a hickup and does not like to eat as much.
    Can someone please give me some Idees how to look after Rudi and where I can get the food for him?
    Thanks very much for your help

  211. Andy says:

    Hi Inge-
    One of the sites recommend this formula. If you don’t have everything, do as much as you can until you do. Remember not to force feed. Might be best to take it to the vet if it is still very young as they will know of carers who have all the right gear.

    1 can Pal puppy food
    Wheat germ
    Heinz High Protein baby cereal
    Wombaroo insectivore mix – (available through your vet, or pet shop)
    One tablespoon chopped parsley
    One chopped hard-boiled egg
    Half a cup of grated hard cheese ie- Old Bitey
    One tablespoon of calcium carbonate

    Good luck!

  212. Andy says:

    Sorry I hit submit before I had finished. This formula makes enough for weeks. Put bite sized portions in Glad Wrap and freeze. Defrost as needed.

  213. Trevor says:

    Thanks for helping out Andy.

  214. Andrea says:

    Hi There
    iam also feeding a baby magpie. We are in central wheatbel of WA. We have just been feeding wombaroobut which the vet supllied. i will now give your formula a go. Is it a whole box of baby cereal and how much wheat germ?
    Also I assume you wet it to feed it. We have a water container in box with him but he doesnt seem to touch it. have therefore been giving him water with syringe squirting into his mouth when he begs. How much food & water should he require? Someone suggested equivalent of about 2 golf balls food/day. Our guy seems to beg evry time we walk by but I am assuming that may be wishful thinking rather than hunger!

  215. matt and anita says:

    hi we have a magpie who is now 2 we got him as ahatchling with no feathers we fed him wambaroo with pal puppy food and cut up meal worms with crickets as for water we just gave him water with a teaspoon we put his food in a shot glass which seemed to be the right amount,you will get to know real feeding cries which are full on or just whinging for attention,timmone our bird is very spoilt and gets whatevetr he wants lol
    now he is 2 and the thriving he is definately one of the family,his food now is a wide variety including everything we eat
    my husband also makes him beef heart with wambaroo and dog food and his vitamins plus meal worms and crickets at all times for him to to graze on

    we adore our bird (timmone) he is the most wonderful and charismatic bird

  216. Andy says:

    Hi Andrea-

    Yes, a small box of baby cereal and a few tablespoons of wheatgerm. AAdd water to make a firm semi wet paste. Then when you defrost the portion, add some more water to make it sloppy. They don’t drink in the nest, but get their moisture from the regurgitated food their parents feed them, so we try to do the same until they can drink themselves. If you drip water to them, they can easily aspirate it into their lungs and then they are doomed, so just make the mixture moist until he can access water himself.

  217. Gunter says:

    Hi there,
    3 weeks ago i rescued a Baby Magpie, he is flying around and settled in around our property.
    there is only one problem .he now fly’s down begs for food and picks on anybody’s Feed till we feed him. how do you discipline that little bugger or how can we stop that as the children are getting a bit frightened now.Apart from that he is wonderful anybody can pad him and he even gets along with our Dog.

  218. Trevor says:

    Hi there Gunter,

    I’m sorry – I’m not sure what you can do about training the bird to have better table manners.

    Perhaps my many readers can give some suggestions.

  219. Lib says:


    I have a fledgeling Magpie (has primary feathers) in my backyard. It has been two days on the ground trying to fly (attempting to progressively use things to get higher). Parents are still around. Was wondering how long they take to fly, and whether it may have problems with its wings if its taking this long.


  220. Trevor says:

    Hi there Lib,

    Magpies usually fledge about 38 days after hatching. for the first few days they are generally very poor flyers and will spend much time on low branches or on the ground until confident flying develops. It is during this time that many become victims of road kill, attacked by cats or dogs or are taken by birds of prey. Fact of life for magpies (and many other birds too). This stage has no definite time span; some learn controlled flight in a few days, others learn to survive the many semi-controlled crash landings that this stage is characterised by while others may take a week or more. Just let the parents keep feeding it; they’re tough little things.

  221. val says:

    Hi Trevor,
    I am very upset tonight so looking on the computer for answers.
    and found your site.and thought maybe you would know.
    I found a baby magpie 4 weeks ago, that had come out of the nest far to early, I have cared for and fed him since,and he has done well, late this arvo he fed well as normal but developed a cough soon after, I was very afraid he may have got food down the wrong way, but didn’t think so as there was no problem at the time of feeding, anyhow an hour later he coughed violently and then just dropped dead, I was shocked and very upset, I had a good look in his mouth and to my horror it was full of very thin white worms, also in his throat, so he obviously had a worm infestion very badly I didn’t know about, could you be able to tell me what sort of worms they would have been that has killed him, they were about quarter of an inch and very thin and white in colour.
    My only consulation is I can see what killed him and I didn’t choke him as I feared. I really would appreciate your thoughts on these worms, Thanks so much Sincerely Val.

  222. Trevor says:

    Hi there Val,

    Your experience must have been distressing indeed.

    I’m no expert in this field but I’ll try to find time to do a little research on the topic tomorrow. It’s a bit late right now.

    Perhaps some of my many readers may have an answer before then.

  223. Andy says:

    Hi Val-

    I read your post this morning and I can only imagine how distressed you must have been. As I had not heard of that happening before I did a bit if investigation. I found parasites called Throat Worms-“Seen mainly in juvenile magpies but also boobook owls, currawong, butcherbirds, blackface cuckoo shrikes and Murray magpies. This will cause extreme difficulty in
    swallowing for some birds. Some birds respond to a variety of treatments and others do not. The only consistent treatment is to physically remove them.” This is from a document found at
    Sounds pretty much like what your bird had was acquired most likely in the nest, and it was nothing that you did or could have known about. Perhaps some of the wildlife carers in your area more about it.

    Poor little maggies, they really do have to battle many things to grow up, don’t they?

  224. Heather James says:

    Hi Val and Trevor,

    I found this paper, with this excerpt below.

    “Throat worm:
    Seen mainly in juvenile magpies but also boobook owls, currawong, butcherbirds, black
    face cuckoo shrikes and Murray magpies. This will cause extreme difficulty in
    swallowing for some birds. Some birds respond to a variety of treatments and others do
    not. The only consistent treatment is to physically remove them.”

    Best wishes,


  225. Heather James says:

    How funny,

    Andy’s comment was definitely NOT there when I added mine!

    Best wishes to you all,

    Heather πŸ™‚

  226. Val says:

    Hi Trevor Andy and Heather,
    Thankyou so very much for your help and research you did for me, and you are exactly right, regarding the death of my beloved Magpie, it was definately Throat Worm that has killed him.
    To-day I actually made an appointment with Dr. Jim Gill a very respected top bird vet, and I showed him some of the worms I had retrived out of the Magpie’s mouth, and there was no doubt it was Throat Worm, or sometimes called Gait worm (maybe not the right spelling of it)
    It was interesting and a relief to know that humans can’t catch these worms from infected birds, they must have an intermediate host to get started, usually grasshoppers insects etc.,
    Jim told me the bird would have been already infected when I found him from his Mum feeding him, so at least it made me feel a bit better, and the other good news was that it would be very unlikely that my 3 little black birds I’m also hand rearing would catch them either.
    Jim said the infected Magpie’s that come in have to be painted with some drug every week which makes the worms back out of the tissue,and the worms have to be pulled out one by one, if they are all pulled out together the bird can then bleed to death.
    I have never seen such a discusting worm in all my life. the only good thing about it is humans can’t get infected being in such close contact.
    I miss my little guy, but I guess I gave him 4 more weeks of life he wouldn’t of had if I didn’t rescue him.
    Thanks so much for you kind words, it was a comfort when I was so sad at losing him.
    Regards Val.
    p.s. Trevor It’s ok by me if you wanted to put the photo up on your website I sent you, taken the day before he died.

  227. Andy says:

    Hi Val-
    Thanks for letting us know what you discovered about those awful worms. Your information will be very valuable to anyone in the same situation and could save another little one from the same fate, so it’s death was not in vain. I am also very glad that that you found out they will not compromise your health or the health of your other little orphans.
    Well done for doing your best. It is wonderful folks like you that make all the difference to the poor creatures who come on bad luck.
    Hope your other little birds do well!


  228. Heather James says:

    That’s a pleasure, Val, we all live and learn, eh? I would have been no wiser than you in the situation… If it’s any comfort, I recently killed about a hundred tadpoles I was keeping (that I ‘d found as frogspawn in my dam), merely by giving them too much clean water at once.

    Best wishes again.


  229. Andrew says:

    Can anyone help, we hand reared a magpie recently and was one of the family, quite a character, she is now 3 months old and frankly runs the house, during the day she lives outside and has no feathers clipped and at night we bring her in for fear of predators. However once she disappeared for 4 hours and came back, after the whole family was distraught waiting!! This time she has been gone for a bit over 24 hours now the girls are very upset, is this normal for magpies just to take off or is it possible someone has stolen her as she is very friendly or maybe something more sinister! Please help.

  230. liz says:

    I found a tired and wet adult magpie sitting on rocks at the beach yesterday. It was up to its waist in water and dripping wet. It let me pick it up and i took it home, dried him off and left it in the dark room to dry off and rest. Today he ate some minced turkey meat and looks much better, but i think he’s blind. Any suggestions? Is it kinder to have him put down? He is so tame and docile,. and readily feeds from my hand (although it takes him a few pecks to find the food).

  231. Trevor says:

    Hi Andrew,

    It sounds like your magpie is experiencing the joys of being able to fly freely, even though it has been a part of your family life for so long. I guess you now have to choose between whether you want a pet or you want to give the bird a life of freedom.

    The latter choice will be hard on your children of course, and this could be a good way of teaching them that birds are better off free flying. Having said that, there is every chance that the magpie will continue to come to visit you, especially if you provide occasional food treats and a bird bath for it (and other birds).

    The down side of keeping it as a pet comes when you go away for a holiday – who will care for it then?

    Sorry – but there is no easy answer.

  232. Trevor says:

    Hi there Liz,

    Sadly I think your diagnosis is correct. It could be old age (are the feather tips worn and ragged?). It could be that it had a minor accident which has blinded it. It could be that it strayed into another bird’s territory and was attacked. It could be diseased in some way (though this would probably be more evident). It could have been attacked by a hawk or eagle or other predator (cat? dog? fox?)

    In all of these situations it would probably have died a natural death right there on the beach. If you decide to keep it as a pet please keep in mind that an injured bird is highly dependent and high maintenance. It will need feeding several times a day.

  233. Andrew says:

    Thanks Trevor we understand, one can only hope that she has found her place somewhere in the hills and mixing with others as thats where we are, on an acerage. I must admit we got extremely attatched to her, with her mannerisms and personality and what not. We refused to clip her wings and cage her as we wanted her to be natural and the kids understood this, disappearing I am told is common for them, we were prepared, sort of but its still hard!! Thanks for your understanding.

  234. Andrew says:

    Hi Trevor, You will not believe it she has just flown in looking a little worse for wear, we fed her, now she is sleeping, unbelievable to say the least, not to mention the kids are as happy as larry to see that she came back, all that worry for nothing, thank god !!

  235. Trevor says:

    That’s good news Andrew.

    And a special thanks to you and your family for caring so much about our feathered friends.

  236. Trevor says:

    Some more good news Andrew.


    Your comment above made last night was the 3000th comment on this blog!

    Sorry – there’s no prize! Just a good feeling.

    Happy birding!

  237. Danielle says:

    Hi there

    I have been caring for a baby magpie for 6 weeks now and it is all going very well…Today I took it down to the place where we found it and let it go….About 4 hours later I checked to see how things were going and out of nowhere flew down to my shoulder and wanted to eat…I want to let it go but we live in “HIGH” predator area…eagles, foxes, wild dogs etc so didnt want to leave it out there….

    He is not strong at flying so I am worried about what to do…

    Any advice??? Thanks a million!

  238. Heather says:

    Andrew I’m so glad your very special bird-friend is okay. And Trevor, thanks for sharing your insight, and for your kindness in your responses.

    Regards to all, Heather.

  239. Rosemarie says:

    We have rescued 3 baby Maggies, at about 3 weeks old, someone had killed both their parents. One was very weak and underweight, we didn’t think he would survive, he was less developed than the others.
    We got correct instuctions from wildcare as to what and how to feed them, vitamins calcium etc,we even built an aviary for them.
    When the smallest one started to grow feathers they were broken and snapped, we have sprayed all three with mite spray, but have noticed a second baby has developed the same problem with it’s tail feathers the started parting and have broken off. Can you please tell me what is causing this problem and how to treat it?
    I’m sure it’s not nutrician, we even feed them live moths, crickets etc. Are we doing something wrong? It is really important to us that these babies survive.

  240. Heather says:

    Hi Rosemarie,

    It made me think of that awful virus “Beak and Feather Disease” that parrots can get – perhaps Magpies can get a similar thing. Hope not! That is a huge commitment you’ve taken on, I do hope it all works out well for you. Regards, Heather. (Who is still awaiting her turn to be graced by a baby Magpie to care for one of these days!)

  241. Rosemarie says:

    Can Magpies develop Beak and feather disease? all the searching I’ve done appears to be only parrots etc.
    I hope so much it’s not. They seem so healthy and playful in every other way, inside their beaks they are nice and pink.
    Thank you for your reply Heather, I love my babies and feel very privileged to look after them

  242. Heather says:

    I don’t know Rosemarie. If they’re otherwise hale and hearty that is a plus I’m sure.

    Yes the babies are SO cute. Today I saw three babies playing in my garden with an old split tennis ball. Don’t know if they are all from the same parentage as I’ve previously only seen two. Perhaps the youngsters from different families “get together”, I don’t know. But it was fun watching and of COURSE I didn’t have the camera handy…

    Good luck with yours, Rosemarie, look forward to hearing what you find out.



  243. Andy says:

    Hi rosemarie-

    Bravo to you for your care and concerns for your orphans. From what I can ascertain, your babies may be suffering from a few things that are aligning to create the problems with their feather growth. Ectoparasites (the mite is just one of many), internal parasites interfering with nutrient uptake, diet and possible bacterial/candida issues may be causing the problem. Only a vet will be able to do the tests required. If their feathers do not grow in properly, they will never be able to be released, keep themselves warm or keep skin integrity, so they will need to to be evaluated as soon as possible. Good luck!

  244. Deb and Ben says:

    Hi All
    what a great site. Really enjoyed reading through the stories or baby magpie rescues. Ok well my son Ben came home with a baby maggie that had flight feathers all matted, torn and not all grown. It was being attacked by galahs so Ben bought it home and a week later Dudley is doing well. We werent sure what to feed so mince has been main diet with drops of water from eye dropper. I read that they can get it in their lungs so today I tried a sloppy but firm mix of the mince with weetbix. Is the weetbix ok??? Also we feed him 3 times , any sugestions welcome and whether we should take him to WIRES? Thanks Deb and Ben

  245. Bec says:

    Hi I have found a baby magpie tonight that has a broken wing. It has had something to drink and has eaten some chicken (all I had in the fridge). With regard to its wing do they heal? can they be splinted? The magpie is strong and will eat from my hand in between trying to take my fingers off. I was going to take it to the vet or to a wildlife carer tomorrow to see if anything can be done. Is there anything else I can do?

  246. Julian says:

    My baby magpie (Malcom) has swollen feet around his joints. This doesnt really affect him it just seems to make him less balanced. Does anyone know what it is and what i could do to get the growths removed?

  247. Denis says:

    I rescued a first magpie (in southwest France) five years ago, called Tipie (tipee) as in french, magpie is “pie” (pee), I bred her to adulthood, letting her free during the day, and one day she left (it would be long to explain, but I had guessed she would leave that day). After that, she nested every year in the nearest tree, some metres from the house. At the back of my mind, I hoped for what happened this year: I rescued one of her sons, fallen from the nest. I had been told that males stayed, and it happened. He stayed for six months (Tipitou as calls him one parrot, for “tipie two”), and then left fived days ago.
    It was quite hard (but so pleasant) to breed him, free in the house when not outdoors as he was everyday for some hours. He always came back at least before night on the window of his room (or another door) which I left open even with cold weather (in fact, he finally slept everyday on the door of my own bedroom, and always understood when time to sleep there).
    But he liked mostly our company (even hiding things in my neck or any place), loved the small pinscher dog which would never hurt him, as he was taught. I was a bit anxious for my parrots which he often seemed to attack, but it was mainly to rob their food, and I never saw any hurt of them.
    When very young, I treated him for worms, as I had found one in stools. I was also anxious, as I had been even more with his mother, that he would transmit some sickness from the wild to my parrots, which are in other was very protected. Once, he was wounded at one leg, and I treated him locally with a small dressing, whih he never touched, and some medics (one needs to be very careful when medicating birds, I am a health professional for humans).
    Even if the house is so much quieter now, and the hygiene will certainly improve, I hope so much I will see him again. I leave food around, and every morning and night, we go (pinscher and me) to his room, of which the window keeps open in winter, in hope of his return to protect from cold.

  248. Heather says:

    Oh Denis, I do hope he comes back just to let you know he is all right!

    Best wishes,


  249. Andy says:

    Hi Deb and Ben-

    Hope your baby is still doing well. I bet you also realise what a commitment it is- they are hard work! Rewarding, but hard work! It is recommended that people who find injured wildlife to turn them over to carers, as they have the resources and experience to know what to do for all the stages of the animal’s life. It may be that your little one might even get to be released if all goes well. So I guess it is up to you and if you have the time and resources to devote to it or if you feel that it would be better to surrender it to a carer. Either way, you have done a wonderful and caring thing.

    Good luck!

  250. Deb and Ben says:

    Thanks for post re baby magpie, yes I am trying to find a carer in area as he needs to socialise and learn to fly plus I am feeding the little glutton up to 6 times a day, pal dogfood is favourite. As for worms etc, yes I think a carer can deal with all that. He’s probably doubled his weight, now has flight feathers so I let him out, feeed him on top off cage then he just hops around the garden We have budgies, he likees to stick close to the. I only worry that will get him to point of release and a cat will get him.

  251. Callum-Andrew says:

    Today I found what seemed to be a newly fledged Magpie. I rushed it home and gave it some water through an eye dropper as today was very hot. It had fallen on the hot bitchumen when I found it. My only concern was that it suddenly starting coughing up blood. I don’t think that’s a cycle of a Magpies youth so I may assume that something is wrong internally.
    Anyone who can help me out, please email me ASAP

  252. Heather says:

    Hi Callum-Andrew,

    Sounds like it needs to see a vet urgently….

    Good Luck, hope it survives,


  253. Denis says:

    I give an advice from far, but the problems are similar everywhere, and being a health professional for different matters.
    Even if studies are scarce, wild birds are probably very concerned by digestive worms, different sorts of round worms, transmitted from stools to food, and magpies eat so many contaminated things, even directly feces.
    For pet birds (in Europe, exotic birds are still allowed), regular worm treatment is always suggested (which I do not do without symptoms, because their food is so clean and so much selected). It seems that in Australia, you have the quite special case of throat worms, which must be expelled manually. For the others, if you really cannot have the help of a veterinary, I propose the same treatment as for cats and dogs or humans (round worms), calculated in dose (be careful, it is a small quntity for 200 g of magpie, and then doubled), grossly dissolved in water, and given with a syringe without needle. Piperazine, often suggested for birds, is maybe not so safe and not so effective.
    Evidently, I cannot be sure that the problem of Callum-Andrew can be solved that way, and sure, the best is a professional inspection.
    I would like to give more advices, and maybe to Julian, I can inform from experience that wounds on legs tend to leave, when healing, a local swelling, but this is maybe far from the real problem. And I am not sure that too much veterinary advice would not be removed by Mr Trevor.

    I would like to know if, on your Continent, you still have (like we have, but less and less publicised) laws against “nuisible” animals (I don’t remember at the moment the official english word).

  254. Trevor says:

    Hi there Denis,

    Thank you for your suggestions on bird care. I am sure my readers will appreciate this information. I usually do not remove such helpful information from this site. I do not have any experience of caring for birds so any help is appreciated.

    You asked about “nuisible” birds. I think that the correct English word would be “pest” birds, those that are a nuisance and cause problems to people.

    In Australia, these come in two groups:

    1. Exotic or introduced birds: Common Starlings, Common Mynas, House Sparrows and many others have been introduced here and cause many problems for farmers in particular. Starlings cause many millions of dollars of damage to fruit crops, for example.

    2. Native species: some native Australian birds can also be pests. Cockatoos and other parrots cause damage to cereal crops, cockatoos often damage houses, parrots eat fruit crops, ravens take the eggs from the nests of chickens, the excreta of silver gulls causes damage to outdoor eating areas and Ibises hassle people having picnics. This list could go on and on.

    Introduced species are not protected by Australian laws but all Australian native birds are protected. Each state has different laws and exemptions can be obtained from the relevant authorities in some circumstances.

  255. Bronwyn says:

    Re Broken feathers on baby or juvenile magpies.I have hand reared several magpies and the breaking of feathers, especially tail feathers can be due to lack of calcium not necessarily in the diet that you are giving them but when they were younger in the nest.Mapies need much more calcium than other birds-see recipes on this site.If the tail feathers are broken,they need to be pulled out completely-short and sharp yanks-I left this to another bird rescuer, as I couldn’t do it!The new feathers can then eventually grow.If these broken feathers are not removed the new ones will break at the same spot.Hope this helps. I love this site and am very grateful for all the helpful information.I work for SPCA Bird Wing-Bird Rescue Centre in New Zealand.

  256. Bronwyn says:

    My magpie “Bisou”(french for kiss) whom I had for five and a half years escaped out of the french doors that were slightly ajar several months ago.I recently heard of a pair of magpies not far from here,one of whom was whistling a few bars of the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” and “God Defend New Zealand”-I taught her to sing those as well as wolf whistle.There can’t be too many magpies that sing that combination.I am so pleased that she is alive and well, and has a mate.I now have a young magpie of two and a half months-“Bella” and have just acquired another baby magpie of about six weeks old.This is a new experience for me, to slowly introduce the baby to Bella.Any suggestions would be appreciated.Bella is quite jealous and I ensure that she is not alone with the baby magpie-yet to be named.

  257. Bronwyn says:

    To Bec re Broken wing.Depending on where the break is, wings can be taped to the body ie tape the damaged wing with micropore securing it to the body around the underside of the body and under the undamaged wing to leave this wing free.If any wounds or broken skin aloe vera gel is applied liberally-this has amazing antibiotic/healing properties.At SPCA Birdwing we have had excellent success with aloe vera to heal gaping wounds on many different species of birds from blacbird fledglings to a gaping hole under a goose’s wing that was attacked by a dog.The latter has now healed beautifully after several weeks of applying aloe vera gel every day. Hope this helps

  258. Denis says:

    Bites by carnivorous animals to birds are very very dangerous because of the germs in their saliva.
    So one should insist very much on local disinfection, the fastest intervention being best, on the spot, to get rid of the germs before they get in the blood circulation.
    And then, I am quite certain one should have a preventive antibiotic treatment. One can make it short, maybe two days, because long use is risky for birds, but more so for granivorous ones. If the wound is older, the antibiotic treatment can be the decisive help that could need the immunitary system to overtake.
    In my own experience (see other posting), I would also use an antibiotic or antiseptic cream or gel (better than ointment) under a dressing if the wound is in a body place where it can be set.

  259. Denis says:

    To give an advice from a long experience and reading around, I would never leave together two dangerous birds. But if you have any observation on this situation, it would be very useful to let us know.

  260. Bronwyn says:

    Thanks Denis,I appreciate your comments.
    Re: My baby magpies- They seem to be getting on well, however I do not leave them together alone, and I am at all times very close to ensure that Bella doesn’t harm the little one, now named Shaanti(Sanskrit for peace and stillness, which suits her character)They are a delight to watch. They now both sit perched on the computer while I am using it and sit at the windowsill together.

  261. Andy says:

    Hi Trevor and maggie lovers

    Just had to share a really wonderful event…
    Last year I started to ‘supplement’ a young female maggie’s diet, as she was battling the odds with a badly twisted foot. I had started to notice her as she hobbled around in my front yard on the joint above the foot. She would run up to me when I got home and we formed a bit of a bond. I had called Parks and Wildlife about her when I first saw her, but their reply was to leave her alone and let nature take its course (and that few with this issue lived to maturity- yikes!). After I hung up I decided that I would give nature a helping hand, give her the best odds possible and see what happened. If she looked like she was suffering, we would catch her and take her to the vet to be put down ourselves.

    Anyway, she hung around for the year, of course bringing several mates with her, one of them being a male with a badly broken wing. He lives in the grass trees in the golf course across the road, but that is another story. Anyway, Miss Hoppy grew and changed her feathers became lovely and fat and shiny, as they all should be. She didn;t seem to be in pain or distressed and I really fell in love with her spirit!

    However, a few months ago, I noticed that she was no longer about and I have been wondering about her fate every day, when the ‘crew’ comes for a snack. Then, yesterday, I spotted a familiar stance on a maggie about a kilometre from home (in front of another golf course!) but I couldn’t stop to check it out further. But, I did so this morning when I went by there again and saw it. I got out of the car and called to the maggie and in a flash she came hobbling right up to me! And, she was with a fledgling, who I think might be her baby as she was doing the typical parental behaviours with it. I was so happy to see her and realise that she was OK and had confidently ventured off and found a new territory (clever girl, another golf course with eternal water supplies). Nice!
    As for the broken wing guy, he still comes for a drink and a bite to eat, along with the other misfits. They all know how to get food for themselves, but a little snack now and then might be just what they need to survive, as Miss Hoppy has shown!

  262. Heather says:

    That’s a heartwarming story, Andy. Thanks for sharing.

    Best wishes to you and your Maggie-pals. Heather.

  263. Bronwyn says:

    Andy, What a lovely story.It’s so nice to hear of compassion towards magpies as they are very much maligned, especially in New Zealand.During the nesting season they will dive bomb if people get to near their nest. I feel respecting them and giving them a wide berth during the short six week nesting season isn’t too much to ask. They are only protecting their young as other species do. Does anyone post photos here? If so, could someone tell me how to upload photos onto this site? Thank you kindly.

  264. Reg says:

    I found a baby maggie about 6-8 weeks ago,,, it has been feeding really well and doesnt want to fly away. she did one day but sat in the big gum tree only to fly back down later in the afternoon. for the past couple of days she hasnt been feeding well, falls over a lot, and seems to keep her head tilted to one side,,,, should i worm her? can anyone give me any advice please. her mum and dad still come down and let me hand feed them,, i feed her fresh beef mince. replies

  265. Denis says:

    I think you are right to think first of worms. For many animals, and specially young animals, worms are one of the first dangers after physical accidents and predators if they exist.
    Also, to help with sick animals, one permanent help solution is the “hospital cage” which is a slightly overheated place : heat, like it happens in fever, is a way for the body to defend against germs. Once, at my working place, a magpie was taken indoors after having been knocked by a bus. It was cold and rainy weather. She looked like nearly dead. The only thing I thought of doing was to heat her with a hair heater. I insisted without any hope. And then, suddenly, in a second, she was on her legs and ready to go.

  266. Bronwyn says:

    Reg -Re baby magpie, 6-8 weeks old.Falling over may be lack of calcium-supplement diet with calcium powder bought from a vet or pet shop. Please refer to the recipes on this site re food for baby mappies.When she tilts her head on the side, is she in the sun? Magpies tilt their heads on the side and spread their wings like an aeroplane to sunbathe.

  267. Andy says:

    I agree with Bronwyn! Mince is not an adequate diet and will result in serious complications. You need to either give it the correct diet (see recipes in posts above) or hand it over to a carer who can do so. Are you sure it is the parents you are feeding. If so, they probably want to feed it themselves, so perhaps let this happen as they know what to feed it.

    Good luck.

  268. Bronwyn says:

    I have just talked to the Bird Rescue Lady of Rothesay Bay, North Shore re Reg’s baby magpie falling over and neck on the side.She suggests that it could have a spinal injury ie a vertebra out of alignment.She has a lady that does Bowen therapy on all her birds with spinal injury and has great success.I have emailed Reg about this and hope that he may be able to take it to the Bird Rescue lady or find someone that will treat his magpie ie a Bowen practitioner or a chiropractor.

  269. Marion says:

    We are carers of wildlife. Our current magpie suddenly had one leg which would not function. The vet suggested a bruise leading to a squashed nerve and that after two weeks it should start to function. We have found this to be the case. Our magpie is frightend of earth worms and only eats them if I drop them at the back of his mouth. How old does a magpie have to be before it no longer needs to be hand fed (actually hand to mouth). Our magpie must be at least 11 weeks and although he runs around the yard and has followed the doves asking for food, be still cries for feeding every time he hears or sees us and will rarely eat from the ground. When we left him to see if he would feed he lost a lot of weight.

  270. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Marion, As you may have read I have two magpies at the moment, 8 weeks and 3 months.In the wild the mother bird feeds her baby less and less until she/he is eating by herself.This is what we have to do. When you want her to start feeding herself reduce feeds gradually and only if she is nice and plump to start with.My 3 month old magpie still wants to be feed but I now alternate what time of day I feed her, so that she can’t expect it.I have cut this down to once or twice a day.Your magpie will eventually realise that you won’t always feed her and will peck at the food you leave her.Meal worms(bought in pet shops) and a bit of grated cheese are good to start them pecking at their food) My 3 month old can definitely eat by herself-she is just lazy and I’m soft.She spends a large amount of time outside and eats many insects-doesn’t like snails or earthworms. If they eat outside they regurgitate a pellet of unwanted carcass-this is normal. If you can be absent for several hours a day, this helps.It won’t happen overnight.All the best. Hope this helps.

  271. Trevor says:

    Hi there Bronwyn,

    I should make you an honorary moderator of my blog! LOL

    Seriously – thanks for all your help for people with questions and problems. I’m struggling to keep up with everyone’s requests, so it’s good to have your help. (I’m also trying to finish my Master of Arts (creative writing) which is taking up a lot of my time.)

    Your help – and that of others too – is much appreciated.

  272. Trevor says:

    Hi there again Bronwyn,

    I missed one of your questions from Jan 22nd about uploading photos to this site. This is my personal birding blog and all the photos are my own. Unlike many other photo sites, the general public cannot upload photos.

    Because you have been so helpful to my readers, any photos you think might be useful here can be emailed to me via the contact form (see the top of each page). I will then decide if I can use them – with your permission and attributed to you as photographer. No promises though.

  273. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Trevor, Thank you for your kind comments; I have sent you an email via contacts.I was re-reading some of the comments and noticed that I had missed a comment re a magpie falling into bitumen tar.I had a baby pukeko delivered to me yesterday with it’s legs and toes totally stuck together with bitumen-you could not distinguish where it’s individual legs or toes were.Luckily it’s body was untouched.It took me over 2 hours to gently remove all the tar by applying vegetable oil, massaging and removing with clean soft linen.Bitumen is oil based.If the body had been affected, the same method would have been used but warm water and detergent would then needed to have been used to remove the oil, and then dried with a towel.The bird was so calm, I’m sure it knew that I was trying to help it.It was then released back to where it came from where the pukeko community would have looked after it.

  274. Helen Bergen says:

    Hi, great site! I’ve learnt alot from comments by other people.

    I am a wildlife carer with WIRES, and thought I’d pass on a new thing I’ve learnt.

    We’ve helped raise a local baby magpie, bringing him in at night away from cats until he was old enough to get up into a tree – and putting him out on the grass for his parents to look after. Of course he’s very tame.

    A few weeks ago he was obviously ill, fluffed up and hunched, with a clearly very painful foot he couldn’t walk on at all.

    Seeing nothing wrong with his leg per se, our vet diagnosed a kidney infection (often results in extremely painful right leg) and put Dandruff on a broad spectrum antibiotic, after giving him an injection of antibiotics which hadn’t worked by itself. It worked, and I’m working on educating the local neighbourhood to not feed him mince and other human foods, but to buy crickets from the pet food shop and limit feeding them to encourage him to sharpen his hunting skills.

    Kidney infections often happen when magpies are not being fed the right food and are missing out on essential vitamins and minerals – often too much fatty meat fed by humans is culprit. Fresh insects are a much better thing to feed them as friendly ‘wild’ birds. Pet shops often sell packet of crickets, which you can feed Insectivore to ensure they’re highly nutritious for the magpies.


  275. Andy says:

    Thanks Helen – very informative!

  276. Jules says:

    G’day Folks,

    We have a couple of Magpies in our yard that seem to be fearless, I would very much like to be able to feed them and kinda get to know them better,but what do we feed them? I’m sure this is a question you get asked all the time. I know you shouldn’t feed wild animals and have never done so before but would very much like to this time as we have a very bird friendly 2 year old that loves birds in general and I know it will be a fantastic,lasting memory for him. all the best

  277. Marion says:

    I have been given heaps of advice but have found magpies like raw or cooked meat or chicken but not mince (they like it but it is not good for their beaks as their tongue cannot clean it propertly). I avoid fatty foods, but buy live food from the petstore sometimes.
    They will also steal any of the dry dog food in the yard, and will come every day for water. Unfortunately they make a mess of the courtyard, and will pick up and move stones and sticks and anything else not nailed down.

    If a magpie discovers you bring food from inside the house they will actually walk inside uninvited… not a good way for them to go. Hope things go well for you and the maggie.

  278. Bronwyn says:

    I hope you enjoy the magpies in their wild state.I think it is a wonderful idea to teach your son about wildlife.If a bird was injured or orphaned I would definitely care for it, but otherwise not feed it as this would make it become dependent on your food.

  279. Claire says:

    Hey, We have a flock of noisy magpies and need to get rid of their nest. Today, we found out that a baby bird, still with down who can’t fly, lives in the nest. Juvenile magpies have been trying to defend it.

    We don’t know what to do.

  280. Heather says:

    Hi Claire, why do you need to get rid of the nest?

    Regards, Heather.

  281. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Claire,

    I also wonder why you have to get rid of their nest.The baby magpie will die if you do so. As you point out that he/she is still fluffy and cannot fly.It needs to be reared by its parents and then will fledge when it is mature enough.Once the nest is no longer in use you could then remove it. I hope this helps. Kind regards Bronwyn

  282. Trevor says:

    Thanks for these quick answers Heather and Bronwyn.

    Claire – I think it is illegal in most states to damage or remove the nest or nestlings of native Australian birds.

    If the birds are causing stress to your family you need to consult your nearest National Parks and Wildlife Office for advice on what to do to alleviate the problem.

  283. Claire says:

    Why I should remove it?

    The magpies are scaring the other birds away.
    I thinnk it is no longer in use now, though.
    I guess I can get rid of it soon.

    Thanks for your help,

  284. jazzy says:

    Hi im about to start looking after a fledgling so im going to get dog biscuits dog food crickets and meal worms….do you think i should use vitamin drops too? i did for a baby squirrel… also it will not be living near where it fell and we have another magpie family over the road and a few crows .. will the magpie be excepted in the future…also i have a large balcony can he live there until he can fly better .. what if he looses his way home??

  285. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Jazzy, If your magpie cannot fly properly, he needs to be put in an enclosure, safe from predators, including other magpies. You could line a part of your balcony with plastic coated wire netting and put branches in it. Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing Mix available in NZ from Karin Wiley(NZ)(Google for email) and in Australia. I use a combination of this( it has all necessary vitamins and minerals) with mince and added calcium- 2tsp Wombaroo mix,approximately 10g ground mince (small meatball size) and calcium( I use liquid form Ossol-0.1ml/kg.(my adult magpies weigh approx 300 grams, so 0.3mls/day.I also add about a dozen dried cat biscuits for roughage – Moisten all this with water.If you do not have access to the Wombaroo mix, you can add about 1/4 cooked egg yolk to the mince and use a vitamin and mineral supplement from the vet + calcium. If he cannot feed himself, you will need to roll the mixture into a little pellet and put into his mouth and push into his throat, past the breathing hole(very important, otherwise he will choke)
    I had an adult pet magpie (5years old-they take 5 years to mature sexually) escape and she found a mate and has not returned) However, for a young magpie to be accepted,it would be best to slowly introduce it to other magpies once it can fly and feed for itself.You can do this by leaving it in a cage near the other magpies, increase the amount of time and the wild magpies will get used to it and eventually accept it. Hope this helps. Bronwyn SPCA BirdWing New Zealand

  286. irene says:

    I live in China, and by accident, picked up one baby magpie in the middle of the street where the traffic is not very busy. At that time, the baby is to small to fly. I had no idea why it went away from its nest.

    Now I raise it for two weeks, but it always ready to be fed. My problem is that now it is impossible to send it back to the outside cruel nature, for the little bird can not eat by itself even it is big enough to fly skillfully.

    How can I train the little bird to live by itself so that I can send it back? Any advice is welcome. my email is

  287. stuart weber says:

    My daughter has a baby magpie with a broken wing. He is doing OK, but we are really worried. can anyone help? He is a black billed, not Australian.

  288. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Irene, First of all,it is wonderful to hear of your compassion in picking up the little magpie fledgling- It would have died without your intervention.Congratulations on rearing it for two weeks-you have done a great job.You should only feed it every two hours and as it gets older (approximately 8-10 weeks) reduce the feeds, one at a time, so that it will eventually feed itself.Alternate when you don’t feed it so that it never knows when you will do so.If you wish to eventually release it, don’t cuddle it and make a fuss of it, as magpies imprint easily.It is possible to release your magpie back into the wild but it needs to be done slowly, so that the other magpies accept it.You can do this by taking it in a cage to an area with other magpies for short periods of time,(you need to stay there out of sight) gradually increasing the periods.The other magpies will be curious and investigate.I have not done this,but know that other Bird Rescue centres advocate that this is the way to introduce a magpie back into the wild. If you do this for a month, you will be able to ascertain if the other magpies are friendly or aggressive towards your magpie.Hope this helps.

  289. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Stuart, If your daughter can take the baby magpie to a bird rescue centre they will strap the wing to its body in the correct position and, it should heal by itself.If this is not possible, the wing needs to be immobilised.I use micropore tape( a paper-like tape that will adhere to the wing but is able to be removed easily.) The tape needs to go around the wing and then under both the body and other good wing and back over the top of body to secure it.It also depends where the wing is broken as to how long it needs to be immobilised-approximately 10 days to 3 weeks.Hope this helps.

  290. Samantha says:

    I have a very small i.e young baby ?magpie. Very few feathers to speak of and its fawn in colour, red inside mouth, blackish legs. The kids found the nest on the ground after a windy day and the baby was still in it, largely unhurt. It’s nest is largish made of sticks and soft inner nest area. Do you think it is a magpie baby?? Any tips on feeding requirements, content, timing, when do eyes open, when will it be more feathered etc

  291. Erin says:

    hey i found a baby magpie that had fallen out of its nest. mother and father both have left it….im not sure how to look after it or wot i should do at the moment its in a shoe box in some towels please if you could give me some advise that would be a big help….thanx πŸ™‚

  292. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Samatha and Erin, I have copied and pasted and earlier post that I have re feeding baby magpies. Samatha, the red inside the mouth is that he is well feed and healthy-pale pink or white mouth means that the bird is starving. Magpies from very young have black/grey and white fluff.Not sure what you have but if he is the size of a magpie he will probably be an insectivore and thus the following nutrition would be fine.Baby birds need feeding every two hours from dawn til dusk.If you are unsure of the identity of the bird, it would be best to take it to a Bird Rescue Centre.It is obviously very young with eyes still closed-eyes open after approximately 10 days.
    Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing Mix available in NZ from Karin Wiley(NZ)(Google for email) and in Australia. I use a combination of this( it has all necessary vitamins and minerals) with mince and added calcium- 2tsp Wombaroo mix,approximately 10g ground mince (small meatball size) and calcium( I use liquid form Ossol-0.1ml/kg.(my adult magpies weigh approx 300 grams, so 0.3mls/day.I also add about a dozen dried cat biscuits for roughage – Moisten all this with water.If you do not have access to the Wombaroo mix, you can add about 1/4 cooked egg yolk to the mince and use a vitamin and mineral supplement from the vet + calcium. If he cannot feed himself, you will need to roll the mixture into a little pellet and put into his mouth and push into his throat, past the breathing hole(very important, otherwise he will choke)

    Hope this helps.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me.Don’t know if I Trevor can give out my email but I would be happy for him to do this or just keep posting here and I will reply.
    Bronwyn Atkinson
    SPCA BirdWing
    Hibiscus Coast
    New Zealand

  293. Bronwyn says:

    Correction for calcium – Ossol Solution- Dosage is 1ml/kg ( not 0.1ml/kg) ie 0.1ml/ 100g weight of bird. Therefore the 0.3ml for 300gram bird of ossol solution/day is correct. Appologies for any confusion.

  294. Erina says:

    Yesterday i found a magpie on the side of the road lying on the ground flapping one wing but it couldn’t get up. I brought it home and we have been giving it water and keeping it warm. He is very alert and lets me hold him to feed water but only lies down on his side. he won’t use one leg and can’t stand at all. His head is tilted to one side. I rang the animal hospital and they said to bring him in so they could put him down. Is this the best thing to do or could we nurse this bird back to health? It is not a large magpie, maybe it is a baby or a similar species that is black and white.
    Please help

  295. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Erina,

    First of all, thank you for your compassion in caring for this little fellow.

    Please read my previous posts re food requirements and frequency of feeding.It is possible that he may recover from his injuries with time and care but it is difficult to determine the extent of internal injuries.His wing will need to be strapped close to his body in the correct position to heal-please see my other posting. If there is blood and bone protruding, it would really need a vet to determine his viability. I would put him on antibiotics- a vet/Bird Rescue Centre would provide these.Do keep him warm and fed and even if he doesn’t make it, you have done your best and given him a chance.All the best.

  296. Trevor says:

    Thanks for all your help Bronwyn. Your experience and expertise is much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these questions. I am pushed for time at present, trying to get my Masters thesis finished this month (a children’s novel) as well as clean up all the storm damage from this last weekend – we lost 3 large trees and numerous branches.

    Thanks again.

  297. Helen says:

    What a wonderful lot of information here.

    We found a magpie nestling a few days ago. We keep him inside overnight with a reptile rock for a bit of added warmth. During the day, we pop him out in a basket hung in a tree with some straw padding. His parents keep him fed during the day. So far so good. He is feathering up quickly but no sign of tail feathers yet. Hard to find out just how old he is, no matter how hard I search the net. Will have to see if I can find more info in our local library.

    I tried to find your photo gallery, Trevor. Link takes me to the front page of your blog. Maybe I am missing something.

    Anyway, thanks for all the great info

  298. Trevor says:

    Hi there Helen,

    Thanks for visiting and for leaving some comments.

    It sounds from your description that your little magpie is about 5-7 weeks old. They fledge about 30-35 days after hatching, leaving the nest but still rather poor in flight due to few tails feathers. They can remain dependent for many more weeks, and will still beg for food when 1 year old, even though they are usually fully independent after 2-3 months.

    The photo gallery have been decommissioned as it was getting too expensive to maintain with the whole family contributing to it. Some references still exist on some articles – haven’t had time to delete them yet. Sorry. My fault, not yours.

  299. Helen says:

    Thanks for clarifying Trevor.

    No sign of flight from our nestling. I think it accidentally toppled out of its nest originally. He fits comfortably in my cupped hands, so still quite tiny. Not fully feathered a week ago but seems to have close to full cover now.

    This link should take you to a pic.

    Again, thanks to you Trevor and all the wonderful people who post such good advice and suggestions here. It may well have saved this little one’s life and has certainly given him a chance at a strong healthy start to life.


  300. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Helen, If the fledgling magpie is being fed by its parents you could put him in a cardboard box with bits of clean old linen and wedge this in a tree when the parents are around.Spy on them to make sure that they know where their baby is- He will call them..They will continue to feed it and it will then remain wild.If you continue to feed it,the fledgling will become tame.
    This can become a problem re the magpie’s safety, and the some people’s perception that the magpie is attacking-they become very territorial especially in breeding season.
    A recent enquiry re a tamed magpie able to roam free on a property with a business with many visitors had become a “nuisance” pecking at the visitor’s feet and the visitors perceive this as attacking. It may need to be re-homed on a large bush section in the wild.

    Blackbirds and thrushes can be re-united with parents using the same box wedging technique.

    A duckling can also be re-united with its mother by using a similar technique but walking with the box and ducklings- putting the box down from time to time so the Mum can check her babies(she is usually flying around)Eventually end up taking the box to a creek and when mum arrives turn the box on its side and walk away.Hope these comments help.

    SPCA BirdWing

  301. Helen says:

    Great suggestion, thanks Bronwyn. This is just what we have been doing. We have a basket tied to a tree close to the original nest. The parents feed the nestling during the day. Each night we bring him in to keep him warm, and then at the crack of dawn, I pop him back outside again.

    I haven’t been feeding him at all. I do put out a little dog food, mealworms, cheese and parsley all mixed up for the parents. I put this not far from the nestling who calls out to them and lets them know he is waiting for breakfast.

    So far, so good.

  302. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Helen, You are doing a great job and the little fledgling is obviously thriving. I have a passion for magpies as they are often very much maligned.As mentioned they become very territorial and protective towards their young during the breeding season and often “dive bomb” people that come too close to their nest with babies. I think that is perfectly normal to protect one’s young-Each species including humans would defend their babies with their life.
    You may eventually be able to leave the fledgling outside at night if the basket “nest” was big enough for the parents to snuggle up to their baby.
    Congratulations again for doing a great job with compassion.
    I would love to hear how the fledgling gets on.

  303. Helen says:

    I do understand about being protective. I am too. No sign of the parents nesting in the basket, yet. We think there might be another baby still in the original nest. It would be preferable if a parent would stay in the basket. We are away for a bit shortly and I don’t like the idea of leaving the nestling out unprotected. Cats and foxes around here and the basket is not high enough. So what to do with the nestling overnight while we aren’t here is a problem I have been pondering.

    We have all been out working in the garden and the parents were not at all aggressive towards us even though we were very close. I read somewhere that magpies can identify individual people, even when they wear different clothes. Our dog on the other hand is the enemy and is swooped quickly if he wanders into the back yard.

    Will let you know how it all goes. The sooner this one flies, the better.

  304. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Thanks for the update. Re When you go away,would you be able to put the basket higher in the tree,next to the other original nest or even put the fledgling back in the original nest?It is very young and won’t be flying for a bit. Hope all goes well.Keep us posted.

  305. Susanjune says:

    We too have just found a fully feathered but very young magpie in our front yard this afternoon. We rang WIRES and they told us to put up bucket in a nearby tree to act as a substitute nest. We did our best with this but are unable to put a nest very high us as the trees in our area are either small or giant. Mamma Magpie knows where baby is and has been feeding her but it is getting dark and I am worried that a cat might get her so we are bringing her inside. I will take her out at dawn and hope mamma comes back. Crossing our fingers that all will go well as we love our local maggies. Cheers Susan

  306. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Susanjune, All the best with the magpie fledgling.Is WIRES an Australian Wildlife Centre? If so,you are fortunate that magpies are protected in Australia.In New Zealand they are unfortunately considered pests and people are allowed to shoot them.It makes me cringe!! They are just wonderful intelligent birds-See my previous posts.
    I love reading all the compassionate stories regarding magpies.

    You and others are doing a wonderful job rescuing baby magpies-It’s heartwarming.

  307. Trevor says:

    Thanks everyone for helping each other – and especially helping our wonderful birds.

    I really appreciate all the positive comments – and for taking over the discussion – I’ve not been well this week (just a heavy cold) so it has been good to see the discussion going on without me and while I recover in front of the fire and television.

  308. Helen says:

    Sorry to hear you are unwell Trevor. Hope you recover quickly.

    I have thought about trying to get the bird back in the nest but it is a mature flowering gum. I could get it closer by climbing on top of the carport, but then I figure a cat will be able to go where I go, unless I can get him back in his original nest and at the moment that seems impossible. Still thinking on it though.

    Good luck Susan, we are in the same situation here. The parents have been feeding our nestling even though he is inside with us overnight. He is a quiet little thing overnight, not even a peep. We have a reptile rock in with him overnight to keep him warm.

    During the day he keeps up an almost constant noise. this changes when he can see his parents and then there is a little almost strangled sqwark when the food hits his throat. Very funny.


  309. Susanjune says:

    Thanks for the encouraging comments Bronwyn, Trevor and Helen. I put baby out at 5am this morning and her parents were waiting on the electricity wires for her. They have been feeding her on and off all day. It looks like they have a nest in a nearby silky oak which is enormous and would require a fire ladder to reach the nest.I can also hear other babies squarking from the nest. They baby seems not to want to stay in the nest we made her but prefers to follow mum about when she is here. Only problem with this is that she can follow her out the front fence and onto the road, giving us all a heart attack.I guess we can only do our best. Does anybody know how long it will take until she can fly by herself? Although she is small she has adult feathers but a shortish tail. Thanks again Susan

  310. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Susanjune,

    I just googled to ensure that I had my facts correct.Google ” Heckle and Jeckle’s Revenge”.It has some interesting facts regarding magpies hiding food that I had forgotten.I used to call this “posting”, as my magpies would “post” bits of food in the most unlikely places and I would later find it all dried up.

    The article says that fledgling magpies fly at 27 days.I can’t remember if their flying is proficient at that age but hopefully you can keep your little fellow safe until then.

    The article also states that the age of parental independence for fledglings is approximately 70 days.

    Keep up all you good work and hopefully soon he will be soaring with his parents.

  311. Helen says:

    Hello again,

    I think I remember reading older comments in this thread about magpies leaving the nest a little after 30 days and then moving around and learning to fly from the ground.

    Here to give an update on Crumbs. Same same here. Coming in overnight, outside during the day and being fed by parents. Bring on daylight saving as this will make my early rising a little more civilised.

    Happy to report that my next door neighbour has agreed to bring Crumbs in overnight while we are away. This is such a relief. I had even pondered paying an arborist to put Crumbs back in the original nest which is about 40 feet from the ground.


  312. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Helen and Susanjune is warms my heart to read about your wonderful care of the baby magpies.Helen, I am glad that our neighbour has agreed to bring “Crumbs” in overnight while you are away. I don’t know how much an aborist would cost re putting him back in the original nest but what a lovely thought. I hope you enjoy your holiday and it sounds as though you have “Crumbs” well catered for.
    Susanjune, how are you getting on with your little fellow?

  313. Tracey Jarvis says:

    We too are caring for 2 fledling magpies, their parents are around watching us and the babies by day but this is the bubs 2nd night inside, so hopefully they too will fly free soon

  314. Helen says:

    Just when I thought it was safe to go outside, we found another fledging on the ground. This wee tiny little nestling is smaller than Crumbs when he was first discovered. We had been commenting that the parents don’t seem to be feeding the nestling in the original nest…now we know why. So we bought a hanging basket as we needed something bigger for the two nestlings. Hopefully the parents will feed both. The parents didn’t go near the new basket this afternoon. Perhaps when we put they hear the little ones demanding their breakfast, the parents might come to the party.

    I am sorry to say I did heave a huge sigh as it is now that much longer before I can sleep past the crack of dawn, and we can put our dog into his own backyard instead of walking the block so he can get out to do his stuff.

    Crumbs has grown so big. Wing feathers are much longer and are getting quite a span. Stronger and standing up in the nest. Today I saw Crumbs tip his bottom to the sky and the parent flew down to grab his poo and take it away. Extraordinary creatures.

    Hang in the Tracey and Susan. If the parents keep up the feeding routine, we are that much luckier.

  315. Lisa says:

    Have found a baby magpie with broken leg in the school grounds and have chosen to look after him/her. Parents were defending it and felt very sad to have to remove it, but it wouldn’t have survived. I have taken it to the vet and we splinted & strapped the leg. I have insect mix and cat biscuits but can I feed it kitten cat food as well?

  316. Robyn Jaques says:

    Help, we too have a baby magpie. Our resident Family had two babies and we think this one was booted from the nest. We found it on the road in front of the house three days ago and brought it in to our garden for protection. The other baby seems much larger and has left the nest and the parents are constantly feeding him. We are in Brisbane and the weather has been cool & wet, so have been bringing the baby in each night and keeping him warm. He sleeps happily in a nest in a cardboard box. In the day time he sits in my potted lime tree or roams the garden. He is feeding ok – a litle mince dipped in water – 3 or 4 pieces, two or three times a day, but does not make much noise or demand food. I am not sure it is enough. It is a trial of patience!!! He is preening himself and stretching his wings and stumbles around the garden & flutters his wings. We have tried several times to reunite the baby with its mother but she ignores it & flies off to feed the other offspring. Our baby has good wing feathers, but no tail feathers yet, and fluffy down on its under belly. He is alert & curious. Obviously if we do not feed this little one it will not make it. Is there anything else we should be giving it?

  317. Louise says:

    Hi guys… the baby Magpie is gorgeous! Now this is a little off the subject and I apologise if this question has been answered elsewhere, but I feed some local magpies pretty much on a daily basis. There are 5 of them, two are mated pairs and one is an offspring. I have been feeding them for around 12 months. I have come to realise that they are nesting (most likely in a tree in the bush at the end of my street), and one of the females has been returning once in a while to take food back to the nest. What I am wondering is will she be likely to bring her offsring with her to visit once they leave the nest? Has anyone had experience with this before…? Thanx πŸ™‚

  318. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Robyn and Lisa, Magpies require much more calcium than other birds- You can use Ossol- 0.1ml/100gram weight of bird,to supplement or a calcium powder sprinkled on the mince. Mince does not have all the necessary vitamins and minerals so yes please use Wombaroo Insectivore mix, half insectivore mix,half mince.You can add farex- baby rice and glucose.Proportions for a meatball size of mince-add 2 teaspoons of farex and 1 teaspoon of glucose powder.

    If you don’t want to go to the expense of Wombaroo Insectivore mix you can add about 1 quarter of raw egg yolk to the above proportions and add a vitamin/mineral supplement to the mince.We have Ornithon here-available from vets.

    Hope this helps.
    Louise- Re offspring to the parents that you are feeding- I personally don’t have the experience of the parents bringing the offspring but I have read about it and know of people here in NewZealand that had this happen.

    All the best with raising your fledgling magpies.They are delightful and intelligent birds.You are doing a great job.

  319. Helen says:

    Greetings again

    An update on the nestlings, Crumbs and Grumbles. They are both thriving. It is amazing how rapidly they are growing. I still put out a little puppy food mixed with cheese and parsley in the mornings. The parents feed this to the nestlings. They also bring insects and other yummies during the day. Each night we bring them in and our neighbour coped wonderfully while we were away. Off again this weekend for longer and she has agreed to bring them in overnight and return them in the mornings for us. Phew.

    I tried to get the insect mix and calcium from a couple of pet shops but had no luck as yet. They definitely were not keen on the mealworms and would leave them behind unless they were in small pieces hidden amongst the puppy food. I will try the vet today.

    It is lovely to read the updates from all the people keeping other nestlings safe.


  320. Caroline says:

    we have a set of nesting magpies in a gum tree next door and they have some chicks in there at the moment that i suspect were born in the past few weeks..we know that the neighbour is planning on removing the gum tree from the property very soon, is it possible to relocate the nest before the tree is removed??

  321. Robyn says:

    Thanks Bronwyn,
    I will add calcium, etc.
    Our youngster is difficult to feed. he just doesnt ask for food. His parents have been coming in and feeding him , which is fantastic, but even they get frustrated. He is still very active and trying to fly & frustrated that he cant get out of our yard. Still bringing him in each night & he sleeps quite hapily in a ‘nest’ in a large cardboard box.

  322. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Caroline,

    Re relocating the nest of magpie chicks.This would only be possible if they were very young ie no feathers.Once the nestlings get feathers they would panic and fall or try to fly out of the nest.The young magpies fledge around 8 weeks but are still dependent on their parents.The young magpies stay with the parents until the following spring when they are chased away to find their own territory. Perhaps you could persuade your neighbour to delay the tree cutting until the magpies are fully fledged.

    Hi Robyn,

    You are doing a great job at feeding the little fellow.The parents would probably be giving him enough food but if you are worried you can continue to supplement his diet when you bring him in at night. It sounds as though he is thriving thanks to you and your efforts.Keep up the great work.

  323. Vicki says:

    I was given a baby Magpie 3 weeks ago to look after until he/she was old enough to find winged friends. I fell totally inlove with Daisy and couldn’t resist nursing and talking to her. A week ago Didak came into the family, he/she was at our local tafe college and had been there a few days and the gardener was concerned as a crow was attacking he/she and it was only a matter of time until it died. Didak is only half the size of Daisy, but today Daisy did a runner and has left home. I am so sad, because although I never intended keeping her caged ( I let both of them have the run of the backyard throughout the day and only lock them up at night) I just wasn’t prepared to lose her so quickly. Didak is frantic and was running all over the garden looking for her and whenever a Magpie (which wasn’t Daisy) arrived in the yard she was running towards them with the beak open and squawking wanting to be fed. I was hoping that Daisy would return tonight, but sadly no sign of her. Didak is still a few weeks away from being independant I think, and isn’t quite as keen for me to hold her, though she is happy for me to feed her, and then she is off. Daisy had only been flying as high as the clothesline yesterday so I was very surprised that she has already gone.
    Do you think she will ever return for a visit? I live in a small country town, so I guess she could be anywhere now πŸ™
    Any comments would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  324. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Vicki, If daisy can fly as high as the clothesline, she should be able to avoid predators.Perhaps you could ask around and search the neighbourhood.Sorry that is all that I can suggest.She wouldn’t recognise her territory ie your place,that young.She may be hiding to avoid detection. All the best for finding her.

  325. Helen says:

    Sorry to hear Daisy has disappeared. I hope that all your good work in looking after her and getting her strong has meant she is now able to live a safe life in the wild.

    Our two are still thriving. Crumbs is huge but no sign of tail feathers yet. Grumbles is growing. Poor thing has quite tattered feathers. He looked very scrawny and unwell when we found him, so hopefully as he is growing so much stronger, his feathers will cheer up as well.

    Interesting to see two magpies feeding the babies. I had thought just the Mum was the feeder. Still, we might have two different Mums. Hard to tell the gender as these two look very similar.

    Will check in next week, to let you know how they are going.

  326. Vicki says:

    Thank you for your prompt replies. My baby came home today at 2.00pm. Don’t know who was more pleased to see her ~ me or Didak! When I got up this morning and she hadn’t returned I thought I would never see her again and had resigned myself to the fact that Daisy was gone and she wasn’t coming back. She flew straight to me begging for food and after she had eaten she flew into her cage and slept most of the afternoon. I am thinking Daisy did alot of exploring in the 24 plus hours she was gone and was plumb tuckered when she got home. After her rest her and Didak were out and about exploring the garden and now as it is dark they are in their cage and I will open the door first thing in the morning and I know now that if Daisy chooses to leave and not come back that she is capable of looking after herself. Both the Maggies dig in the garden and eat ants and bugs, and I top them with some food throughout the day. They jump into the bird bath and have a splash, I hope when it is Didak’s turn to leave that they both stay together. Does anyone think this is possible?
    I had never had a thing to do with birds before I adopted these two little treasures, and now I have so much love for these gorgeous birds.
    So thank you again for the replies and it was great to read so many comments on so many different topics regarding raising baby Magpies (has helped me so much).
    Hope all the comments I make in the future are all positive!!

  327. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Vicki,

    I was thrilled to read your news that Daisy is back.I have two pet magpies that are chicks from last year, one month apart.When I first introduced the younger, I had to keep a constant eye out that the elder didn’t peck and pull at the other ones feathers.After a short time they became the best of mates and follow each other around the garden even sharing insects, which is quite horrible to watch.
    Once again I am very happy that Daisy is back.You are doing a great job at supplementing their diet.

  328. Shelley says:

    Hi, I found a baby magpie couple of days ago, have been watching him, but has not appeared to being looked after, so today picked him up, put him in a box, was very weak to start with, started feeding cooked chicken mince (hope this is ok), problem is he appears to have a crooked leg, it wont straighten out and because he is sitting on it, doesnt look like the other leg. any sugestions, I dont mind looking after him, they sound like they are fairly easy to care for, how many times a day should I feed.

  329. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Shelly,

    Please see above for recipe for proportions of food mix for magpie using raw beef mince and Wombaroo Insectivore mix, calcium, glucose and farex-baby rice.If you can’t get the Insectivore Rearing mix you can use raw egg yolk and a vitamin and mineral supplement from the pharmacy.
    A baby magpie will usually call to be feed every 2-3 hours.If he doesn’t,feed him an oblong pellet of mince mixture about the size and length of the first joint of your little finger.He may take two of these at a time.

    Re magpies crooked leg- Please take him to a vet or a Bird Rescue Centre, as his leg may need splinting.Even if the is not broken,it needs to be put in the correct position and splinted for several weeks, so that it will grow straight.Hope this helps

  330. Helen says:

    Just popped in quickly to let you know that Crumbs has left the nest. He is bouncing around the back yard and trying so so hard to fly up. He can manage about a foot high for a distance of about three feet. If I see him in the evening, I pop him up in a tree.

    Grumbles is the problem child. He hops out of the nest but is way too young. I think he hears all the calling going on at the back of the yard. If I find Grumbles in the evening then I pop him in the garage in a box with a warm rock. Tonight, there was no sign so he will be roughing it. I have to be realistic here and remind myself that I can only do the best I can. And if Grumbles is hidden off in the back yard, then he will have to stay there.

    Still no sign of Wambaroo or the calcium drops. I have tried the local vet too. There is an avian specialist but it is a bit of a trip. I try to put out just a little food (puppy food, cheese and parsley) to supplement their diet so hopefully it is doing some good.

    Australian women’s hockey just won the gold medal in an amazing game. yay!


  331. jeri says:

    I found a baby magpie about two weeks ago after a big storm. He looked a bit battered so I brought him in and thought he probably just needed to recovered for a day or so. The next morning I realised that he has one dodgy eye, which he doesn’t really seem to be able to see well out of. The other eye had a huge tick on it which we successfully removed. We have been putting him outside during the day and the mum has been feeding him and bringing him in at night. She has another baby at the top of a gum tree that she is also feeding. Everything was going well until a couple of days ago when we had more severe weather and so I had to keep him inside for the day. In that time he has decided that he won’t stay in the tree anymore and keeps hopping down and walking around the driveway and she doesn’t seem to be coming back as keenly as before. Yesterday another younger looking magpie came down and kept pecking at him and standing on him. He has started flying a bit more and ended up going too high for us to get to him to bring him in last night, so he had his first night out. I went out this morning and found him in a different tree screaming for food with no sign of mum. The problem is when he tries to fly, he is having trouble with the one good eye and seems to be going in circles! We did manage to use an extendable pool brush to put up to him and he happily came down to us for breakfast. Problem is we don’t know what to do for him for the best. He is currently in my husbands shed having had him breakfast. We have 2 acres but 2 dogs outside and we’re terrified that he’s going to get hurt! It’s totally stupid I know. Does anyone know will he feed himself at this stage if mum doesn’t come to him, or should I keep feeding him. I don’t know whether to just leave him alone or keep caring for him.

  332. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Jeri,

    It is wonderful that you care, not stupid.Does his bad eye look weepy?If yes, he may need antibiotics or at the least aloe vera gel which has antibacterial properties to clear up any infection. A vet would provide you with antibiotics.It sounds as though he is too young to fend for himself.If you know where the parents are you could try and place him in a secure box in a tree (well secured) and see if the Mum comes to his calling to feed him.If not then he will need to be fed until older,stronger and able to fly to avoid predators including dogs and cats.Please see previous recipes for food and frequency of feeding.
    Thank you for your compassion to look after this little one.

  333. jeri says:

    Thanks for that. The eye has never been weepy, just much smaller than the good one. When I feed him, if I go from his bad side he doesn’t seem to react at all. When I go out in the evening to call for him, to bring him in, he definitely seems to turn his whole head to the good side to have a look at me. I took him outside today when I knew he was hungry and made him call for food hoping it would attract the parents. Sure enough it did and they both came down to the back door! They both fed from my hand and I then put him in a tree where I could keep an eye on him. I went back to the back door and stayed there with more food. The parents came back and fed again and then the mum took some over to the baby! I was delighted. I left them to it and watched him hop down on the floor and spend about 20 mins with them scratching around. They also had an older baby with them, which I think is the one that had been pecking at the baby before, but he seemed to behave himself with mum and dad around!! I went back out and brought him in this evening and funnily enough mum suddenly appeared at the back door as if to see him in safely. I suppose I just keep going this way and hope that he learns to live with his disability. It really doesn’t look like something that is going to get better. I’ve seen no improvement in the two weeks that we’ve been looking after him.

    We have four kids, three dogs, a guinea pig. We run a home business and home school our kids, life is busy!! So how does something so small come into your life and have the whole family wrapped around his very cute little beak!! LOL!!

  334. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Jeri, It is heartwarming to read your story.If you could bathe his eye with saline (sterile if you have it-you can get this from the pharmacy or you can make it in boiled water left to cool) several times a day and put aloe vera gel on it, it may open more.I run a Bird Rescue Centre and I had a little thrush whose eye was completely closed.I bathed it every day for a week (3x daily, he was on antibiotics and I used aloe vera gel topically-the eye opened on the 7th day and was fully functional.You may like to give it a try. Homeschooling is fantastic.I homeschooled my three children in total 20 years!! All went to school for the last one or two years and now two are at University and one last year of school.

    Keep up the good work. I love to read your updates.Thank you

  335. Helen says:

    Such fabulous stories. We are still ploughing on with our nestlings. Pouring with rain today. Grumbles is nestled under some leaves, trying to stay dry. Crumbs who is still twice the size of Grumbles is demanding the food and poor Grumbles hasn’t had a bite.

    We have a dog, four guinea pigs, a budgie and three kids. Still, somehow it all gets fitted in to a day. If Grumbles hasn’t been fed after I do the school drop off, I will bring him in and feed him up, then slip him back out again.

    Crumbs is now able to fly a distance of about six feet and about two feet off the ground. Well, probably can’t fly at all at this very moment given his bedraggled state.

    Lovely to hear the parents are understanding of you handling the baby. Our parents swoop me as I put Grumbles away for the evening. I fully understand it of course. If it wasn’t so darn close and scary, I would think it was just a warning, lol.


  336. jeri says:

    Well I put baby out this morning and fed him outside to let parents know where he was. For some strange reason this morning when they found him and he hopped down out of the tree to them on the floor, mum attacked him! I waited to see what was happening, although I desperately wanted to dive in and rescue him. Then he suddenly took off and flew into a really high tree about 50 metres away. There was no way we could get to him so we had to leave him there. About an hour later, I spotted two babies in the original gum tree, sitting a few branches apart. I’ve only ever seen the one baby so was sure this must be our baby. I’ve just been out again and called to him but couldn’t find him and then heard him answering me at the front of the property. He is now in another high up tree, desperately calling for food! For some reason mum is just not having it today. The good thing was that when I saw him take off from the ground, he did go in somewhat of a straight line and got himself up into the tree. Do you think he will be able to feed himself at this stage? I’m trying to think that it’s natures way and I should let it be, but when you’ve cared for something for two weeks and invested so much time and care, it’s difficult to let go. I’d be terrible on one of those nature programmes where they watch baby leopards being attacked! I’d be running in shooing everything away!! LOL

  337. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Jeri, You are doing all you can.Just keep observing the baby and see if Mum will feed him.If he is high in a gum tree with a sibling then he will not be prey to predators. I certainly smile reading these compassionate stories. If he comes to be fed by you then you can supplement his diet.Otherwise, he will I’m sure forage for insects or yell for Mum.Hope this helps

  338. jeri says:

    Thanks Bronwyn, he has spent the day shifting from one tree to another all within close proximity of each other. Bizarrely, mum, dad and older sibling all came to the back door to be fed and I found myself having words with them, explaining about our baby. She did actually take some food over to him eventually, which was something. It’s starting to rain quite heavily here now and getting dark. Mum, Dad, older sibling and baby are all together in one tree and the back of the property and our baby is on his own at the front in his tree. As soon as I call to him he answers and I just wish he would come down. It’s difficult to remember that they are made to spend the night outside in the rain and it’s not as upsetting for him as I think it is. (or at least I hope not!! LOL) It would be lovely to think that he makes it through ok and in the future they will all come to the back door together. My hubby said that maybe when I saw mum being, what I thought was mean to him this morning, she was actually trying to get him up into a tree and off the ground where he has been spending alot of his time. Up untill now I’ve been impressed at what a great mum she is, which is why it was so weird to she her pecking at him this morning.

  339. Vicki says:

    Hi to everyone!
    A week later and now Didak my smallest baby has disappeared. Daisy comes and goes but stays mostly in my backyard and especially loves the fernery. last night we had really heavy rain which has continued all day today. Daisy was up on the roof this morning and come down as soon as she saw me, but Didak is nowhere to be found. She was not a competent flyer, could get about two feet off the ground and only flew approximately 3 or 4 metres. i just hope that a cat has not come into my yard and taken her. i am going to be carted away at any moment as i have walked the street in pouring rain looking for her and calling her and looking over fences and through gates hoping to find her safe and well, everyone thinks i am going off my head as i am so obssessed with these gorgeous babies. i am sure Didak thinks Daisy is her mother as she followed her everywhere and i am positive if she was nearby she would find her way home to be with Daisy. this will be her second night away and i am doubting now that she will return. i am going on holidays in a months time ~ do you think Daisy and hopefully Didak will be able to fend for themselves while i am away. Thinking i should be weaning guts ache Daisy ! i have friends who would come and feed her but i am hoping that she will be totally dependant by then, she would have to be at least a couple of months old by then.
    any replies very much appreciated.
    happy weekend to everyone πŸ™‚

  340. Lisa says:

    Hey Magpie lovers, I wrote a while ago about finding a baby magpie in the school grounds with a broken leg. I named him Pi as in 3.14. Pi’s leg is getting better all the time. I didn’t think he would get much mobility back because of nerve damage that might have occurred, but he is now able to open the foot flat and bear alittle weight on it. today he even gripped my hand a little when I picked him up. So excited. But now we have a different problem. He has sores or growths around both eyes and one is so large that it has split the skin of the eyelid. He also has lumps appearing on his beak and in his mouth. Again I took him to the vet and we have tried antibiotics. I had to inject him every day for 4 days. Just call me nurse! I’ve never had to inject anything in my life but I did it!!!! very proud of myself. The vet doesn’t know what to do next and I’ve emailed her photos that she is sending on to a university. Hope that will help. But if anyone has any clues….please help I feel really useless and it must be really painful. Pi has been so good. He spends everyday in my classroom and the students all love him and collect bugs and insects for him to eat. I get many visits from students during breaks to check on him. I read in one message about aloe vera, can i use fresh aloe or does it have to be processed? Same stuff as for humans??
    Pi is is learning to fly and can’t risk letting him out to explore the great outdoors incase he flys away. can’t do anything untill the plaster comes off. So I keep in doors. I also have a cat Bram and they are sharing the insects. I’m not sure who likes them more Pi or Bram Rennfield. They were drinking off the same spoon of water yesterday. wish I had a video on them!! LOL

  341. jeri says:

    Hi Vicki, Maybe we could be carted off together! We have had new neighbours move in next door and they think I’m totally mad. They have witnessed me sending my long suffering husband up trees with pool poles to retrieve our baby for the night! Listen, I had never seen my little guy fly more than three feet in height and then suddenly this morning, when needed he took off and flew to the top of the heighest tree! Maybe Didak got spooked by something and took off too! The weather today has been terrible here too and it’s been hard to spot any of my maggies. (I’ve been on the balcony with binoculars!)

    Good luck, Jeri

  342. Taya says:

    Hi Bronwyn,
    I found a baby magpie (still with down who can’t fly) about one week ago in the middle of the road. I didn’t feed him properly (small pieces of raw (lean pork) meat, cooked egg yolk and earth worms).
    Now he has developed diarrhea.
    Will it help to stop diarrhea if I change his diet to the formula what you suggested?
    (raw beef mince, raw egg yolk, calcium, vitamin and mineral supplement)

  343. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Re Aloe Vera- This has wonderful healing and antibacterial properties. I use the gel but I am sure the gel straight from the plant would be fine. I use this and/or active manuka honey on all wounds.I had a tui with encrusted eyes and he had a very bad mite infection.I used vegetable oil on cotton buds-changing the cotton buds with each application, to soften and remove the encrustations, several times a day.I used olive oil but any vegetable oil will be ok. Also treat your bird with mite/parasite powder.If the infestation is very bad, do it the following day as well.
    Lisa- It is possible that “Pi” has a fungal infection.Your vet would need to do a scrapping and get it analysed.Often birds have yeast infections-Candida Albicans.It can definitely be treated.

    Vicki-At 8 weeks a magpie in the wild would still be with its parents but it would be learning to forage for itself. If you are concerned, I would suggest that you get your friends to come and give it food and ensure that it gets it by not leaving it for cats. Hope this helps

  344. Helen says:

    I remember reading something about growths so I did a quick search. I found this about a viral infection.
    “Cheesy lumps in the back of the throat. Also evident around the eyes, beak and feeti.
    e., it has external symptoms. It looks like canker. Most common in magpies, ravens”
    I wonder if it would be possible to find a specialist bird vet. That might be the quickest way to get on to the right treatment.

    I am quite relieved to find I am not the only one worried about these babies out in the rain. We have almost gale force winds at the moment, whipping the rain sideways and hurling it around. I put both babies in the garage last night and am really pleased I did. They had a break from the wild weather, and a chance to dry off and warm up (with their little heat rock). I find now that if I sit them up on my finger to carry them to the garage, they sit quite comfortably and stay still.

    Yesterday I spent quite a bit of the day running around after them, warming heatpacks and sorting out places which might offer some respite. Limited success, lol.

    Grumbles is definitely out of the nest but I think in the wild, he would still be there. He is totally unable to fly. Interesting to see the Mum leading them to spots where she thinks they will be safest. She grabs some food, feeds them once or twice, then sets off and they follow her.

    This morning, they are around the side of the house and the best way for me to see them is from the window of my son’s bedroom. Hmmm 16 year old boy, before 9.00am on a Saturday morning…might not risk that.

    Oh, and I think I may have read that the parents feed the babies until they are about a year old. They do stop feeding them quite so much to encourage the babies to learn to find food themselves but I am not sure when they begin to taper off.

    Also I have to say that if the babies can fly up into a tree then they should be OK. Mine are still unable to fly up that high but Crumbs is certainly working his way up to it.

  345. jeri says:

    Ok, so after a very worrying night with really high winds and rain, I found baby relocated back to where he originally came from high up in a gum tree. It amazes me how I can go out in 2 acres and call him and he’ll answer straight away untill I find him! After about 30 mins, mum appeared and fed him. I was over the moon. She then flew to the back door, as if to tell me to go get some meat, which of course I did! She ate and then fed baby. I’ve just been out again and found them all together, with baby following dad from tree to tree!! I’m so happy that they are all together again and doing well. It has been such an emotional few weeks but such an amazing experience. I’d do it all again in a heart beat! I’m really looking forward now to feeding the whole family and her bringing him down to the back door to be fed soon too! He also seems to be coping with the dodgy eye and managing to fly in the right direction with dad’s help! What wonderful birds!

  346. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Canker and yeast infections must be treated by a veterinarian.He/she will give you the correct diagnosis and treatment.It is important to get the magpie to an avian vet as soon as possible.

    Re Diarrhoea: The risk with diarrhoea is that he will become dehydrated very quickly. He needs electrolytes to re-establish the mineral balance. You can get Gastrolye from a pharmacy-this works well.It would be best to take him to a vet and he will tell you what give him.In the meantime, you could give him water with a bit of salt in it.

  347. Bronwyn Atkinson says:


    I forgot to mention that your magpie may already have had an established problem of infection in the gut before you found him.He may need antibiotics.I would suggest that you take him to an avian vet. Stewed apple in electrolyte solution(Gastrolyte) does work well with diarrhoea. Hope this helps

  348. jeri says:

    What exactly has happened between 10.30am and now I have no idea, but I had parents and older sibling feeding at my back door when my new neighbour (with two bull terriers) called over that there was a baby maggie at their back door calling and looking battered! I ran over and there he was. Thank goodness my neighbour hadn’t left his dogs out! I brough him home, fed him a little and he crashed! He is exhausted and definitely stressed. His eye was bleeding and looking gooey! I’ve bathed and aloe’d it as Bronwyn advised and he is now asleep! I’ve got my eye on the older sibling as he wasn’t there this morning when everyone was together and he is now! The other thing is that the other baby that the parents still had, that was the same age as our one is also missing! Maybe he became a casualty of the weather last night or the older sibling, who knows?? Back to the drawing board!!

  349. Helen says:

    What a lot of ups and downs in those posts.

    The weather today has been much kinder here so I have had a less worrying day.

    Both maggie babies are funning around the back yard and being fed by Mum and Dad. No sign of Crumbs, the larger baby, doing much flying yet. And Grumbles is still a long way from flying at all. Funny to see how the Mum uses food to marshall them both in the part of the yard where she likes them to stay.

    Hopefully the other baby turns up Jeri. Hang in there.

  350. Taya says:

    Thanks for your help.
    For the last couple days I gave him plenty water with eye dropper.
    Today I fed him with Meal worms and Wombaroo mix (with fresh beef mince and calcium).
    His faeces contain much less water now. Are they (faeces) must be solid?
    Do I need to wash his bottom with warm water?
    Tomorrow I will try to get Gastrolye from a pharmacy.
    I will take baby magpie to an avian vet on Monday.

  351. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Taya,

    You are doing a great job.
    Magpie faeces are fairly liquid/slightly semisolid.White liquid circle around the outside of dropping with a brown centre. (Diarrhoea is liquid brown)If he is not well, I would wait to wash his bottom.The temperature of birds is much higher than humans and hypothermia is a risk if you dunk him in water.If he is really smelly fill a basin with very warm water- 60 degrees and only immerse his bottom.Dry thoroughly patting with a towel and keep him warm.You could fill a hot water bottle,place a towel double thickness over it and place him on top of this in a cardboard box.(You don’t want to cook him).I would keep up the liquids every 3-4 hours- hydration and maintenance liquid is vital. Put clean old linen in box and change regularly when soiled.Hope this helps.

  352. Trevor says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for this continuing discussion – and for everyone helping one another with their magpie questions. Keep up the great discussion as it is really great to hear how all of you are caring for our birds.

    As owner and writer of this site I am so pleased that so many people find the information here helpful and informative. This site is quickly becoming one of the leading birding sites, not just here in Australia but world wide. You may not realise it but this site has over a thousand visitors every day from over 100 countries.

  353. Taya says:

    Hi Bronwyn,

    I would like to thank you so much for taking the time to answer me.
    Today I gave the baby magpie to drink Gastrolyte solution (0.25g Gastrolyte in 10ml drinking water). About 15-20 min later all white liquid came out. Now, when I feed him his faeces are like you described (white liquid circle around the outside of dropping with a brown centre).
    Maybe it was not Diarrhoea, but he still has very dirty and smelly bottom. I will try to wash him like you suggested.
    Again, thanks for your help.

  354. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Taya,

    I am glad that your baby magpie is better today. Please keep up the Gastrolyte solution for a few days to re-establish the electrolyte balance.It may seem odd but stewed apple helps to settle an upset tummy-Just as in humans.
    Your baby magpie is very fortunate to have you care for him.

    Jeri, How is your magpie with the “gooey” eye and possible canker/yeast infection? Active manuka honey has fantastic antibiotic/healing properties.I have just successfully treated a baby starling with this over 5 days. He looked as though he had been scalped-open wound on most of his head.Hope you manage to take your magpie to an avian vet.He may need antibiotics for his eye as well as treatment for the canker/yeast infection.

    I have two pet magpies and they are delightful- So intelligent and great watchbirds.

  355. Lisa says:

    Thank you all so much for advice and reassurance about Pi. He is doing well. Since we live in a small community hours away from avian specialists we have had success with emailing and expert. I took some good pictures and the specialist has diagnosed Spirvroid worms and magpie Poxvirus. Both apparently they are both mosquito vectored.With all the rain and flat country here the mosquito’s are big enough to carry you away or at least leave you anemic. We (Vet and myself) have dealt with the worms. dribbling worm medicine down throat then pulling them out with forceps. Very yucky but Pi was a champion and very brave. I even got to play vet nurse. The pox needs time to run its course. Thats harder for me to deal with, as it is covering his eyes partially and hope that it doesn’t get worse. The last two days I have had to open his right eye carefully in the mornings as it has been glued shut. The vet didn’t have any advice about topical things to help the healing process so I will try aloe Vera fresh from the garden on the sores on face and beak. If anyone has any other ideas, please I’ll try anything.

    Good news though is that the leg is healing really well and 2 more week we can remove the splint and plaster. He is now able to stand on a perch and grip the perch. Saturday morning I put him down on the carpet in the study in a large patch of sunlight and he did this great big belly flop with out stretched wings and didn’t move for ages. Must have been cold. The cat came in to see what was so exciting and laid down beside Pi and sunbaked too. Have the video evidence to prove it. It was very funny!

    Pi is learning to fly now around the house. I can’t let him out in the trees incase he flys off. With the splint and bandage it would probably lead to his death. So now I will have a bird with flying capability and no hunting or foraging skill. What to do…what to do?

    This site has been a great relief to me. I went back and read every entry trying to learn as much as possible, and I learnt so much. Hope it is okay to keep everyone up to date as not many adults are interested in a magpie or the little achievements that are so exciting.

    Thank you to everyone past and present.

  356. Bronwyn Atkinson says:


    I was thrilled to hear that you received expert advice re Pi.I am so pleased that he is being treated and in your loving care.You may wish to try active manuka honey and/or aloe vera gel( as you are doing) on the sores around the eyes.I have wonderful success with active manuka honey and often use a combination of both.
    You and Pi sound very brave regarding the spirvroid worms. I have not dealt with that or magpie Poxvirus. I would be interested in which worming treatment you used as well as what you treat the Poxvirus with.Mosquitos here are rather small.

    Warm water bathing Pi’s eye and applying the aloe vera and/or active honey, I’m sure will help- Poor little fellow.

    Glad his leg is healing nicely.

    Spreading out his wings like and aeroplane and fluffing up is normal sunbathing activity for a magpie- They often put their head on the side and become so hot that they pant.

    Don’t worry about his foraging skills- They are inherent and when he is well, he will instinctively know how to catch insects in the garden.

    If you want to slightly curb Pi’s flying ability and ensure that he doesn’t escape, you can use micropore tape (available at the pharmacy)on the flight feathers. This will not hurt him at all.The tape is paper thin and just adhesive enough to bind but easily removable without damaging his feathers.If you wanted to let him forage outside without the risk of him flying away you could do this as he would not be able to gain enough height to fly away.I would supervise him, nonetheless, as you don’t want any cats or dogs near him.

    Please do keep us up to date.I love reading the latest updates.

    It is wonderful to have you all caring for the baby magpies.In New Zealand they are not protected and this very intelligent bird is much maligned.

  357. Vicki says:

    WellIam very happy, my missing baby Didak arrived back home after two days and two nights away….I really thought with the heavy rains and winds that he had disappeared forever. Saturday morning I heard him in the backyard squawking and with my other adopted baby Daisy. Since then the two are inseparable and dig in the garden and fly around in small stints. I haven’t locked either of them up for some time, because I gather both have taken off and explored and both have returned. I know now that if either goes they are at a stage where they have a choice to go or stay, I just hope that they choose to live close to me, because I adore these two baby Maggies. I still hand feed Daisy when she screams out for a feed, but Didak prefers to keep his distance and feeds from the ground where I put his food. Daisy still enjoys a cuddle and a kiss!!
    Happy Magpieing everyone

  358. jeri says:

    Hi everyone, well I’m totally stumped as to what to do next. After Saturday, when we found the baby at the neighbours looking battered and bruised, we have kept him inside. He had been out all day and night and obviously survived the heavy rain. His eye was looking terrible but thankfully has healed although still alot smaller than the good one. It is definitely clearer and I think a little bigger.

    I just don’t know if I put him outside again, whether the same thing is going to happen. He is definitely capable of flying up to high places but doesn’t seem good at coming down. I would be happy to let him fend for himself, but I’m sure the othe birds are having a go at him. The other problem is that he does seem to spend alot of time walking around and is really trusting! There are so many dogs around between us and our neighbours I’m terrified that he’ll get eaten. Should I be keeping him in for a while or should I just put him back outside again? Any help would be really appreciated. Many thanks, Jeri

  359. MARGIE says:


  360. Lisa says:

    Hi Jeri,
    you are not alone, I too am worried about letting pi out side. Living in a residential area is not the best place to be trying to release our little babies. But I can’t imagine locking him in a cage either. I’ve even concidered taking him out to a friends property who might be willing to take care of him. Would break my heart though. I don’t think there is any easy answer. Get him healthy and try again? Sorry I’m not more help, will have to make similar decission when Pi is recovered. At the moment his pox have pox. Had to wash both eyes this morning before he could open them.

  361. MARGIE says:


  362. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    I would instinctively keep the baby magpie inside until his eye is better- Continue to bathe it several times a day and apply aloe vera.If it is more open than before, it is hopeful that it will recover to normal size and function- It could take up to a week or more.( I wrote about a thrush with a totally closed eye after a cat attack- I bathed it and applied aloe vera plus gave antibiotics (from a vet) and after a week it opened fully.)He would be prey to dogs and cats, so needs to gain his health plus full flight feathers before he would be ok in the wild.


    Re Tucan and Tweety together- I had a rescued magpie chick last year and then about a month later a younger baby magpie came into the rescue centre.I had to constantly watch them both as the older would peck at the younger.I now have both as pets and they are great mates and follow each other everywhere. You do need to persevere and be vigilant to ensure that the younger one is not harmed by the older magpie.

    Re Releasing Tucan into the wild- If Tucan’s inability to fly is a permanent disability,IT would be rather difficult to release him as he would be prey to predators.If he is happy at your place and enjoys the company of your dog, perhaps he could stay.

  363. MARGIE says:


  364. neaka says:

    Hi All,

    I’ve been reading over everyone’s comments the past few days trying to understand on how to care for my baby maggie. He/She (otherwise known as Tuki) seems to be doing well now….. but, I get quite stressed that I’m not looking after her well enough! She has downy feathers on her body, but, adult feathers on her wings (which she keeps cleaning and white scales which look like dandruff are falling off). It seems when I make the food (woomberoo, egg, parsley etc) it ends up mushy and I dont think she likes it too much. She tends to want the steak….. Anyway, I thought I might take her for a check up today to make sure I’m doing things right for her…. So I guess what I want to say is that I’ve been extremely great-full for this site and have enjoyed reading everyones comments :)))
    Neaka xx

  365. Helen says:

    Good news and bad news.

    Bad news is that Grumbles hid the night before last in a prickly plant so I couldn’t put him away. Sadly he hasn’t been seen since. I think he will have been taken by a cat or a fox. There is always that glimmer of hope but I don’t think it is realistic.

    The good news is that Crumbs is not flying quite strongly and able to fly to the high branches. Such excitement. He is still a fluffy furball of baby feathers but that height gives him an element of safety.

    Thanks to all the good hearts here who look after the nestlings and who give such good advice.

  366. Bronwyn says:


    All birds preen even when young to shed the dead skin cells and feather shafts (which are no longer needed when the feathers emerge)They do look like dandruff.I think it probably itches so they instinctively clean away the dead cells.

    Re Feeding- Please see previous posts for proportions of mince,Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing mix, farex- baby rice, calcium, vitamin/mineral supplementsetc.The mixture shouldn’t be too sloppy-consistency slightly softer than mince so that you can pick it up and roll into a small pellet to pop into your baby magpie’s mouth.

    I’m sure that you are doing a great job in caring for Tuki.It sounds as though he is thriving under your care.

  367. neaka says:


    I took him to the vet today, and they told me that it was illegal to keep a baby maggie and suggested that I surrender it over to them. Was a little humiliating, I guess I felt she could have treated me less like a criminal and more like someone who had saved an animal…. Oh well I guess Tuki is safe and will be in the best hands.

  368. MARGIE says:


  369. Lisa says:

    Hi everyone,
    Yesterday at school My class and I saw Pi’s nest mate and mum walking around just outside our classroom. It was both good and sad to see. Knowing that the other one is thriving and that it has mum was great for the children to see, but also sad because that is where Pi should be.

    Does anyone know about the behaviour where they come real close to you put the head close to the floor? It seems that he expects some sort of response and I’m not sure what Pi wants. Scratch, cuddle, neck rub? Instinct says that it is an affectionate behaviour, but how to meet that?

    The worming medication that they used to tread the throat worms was Proheart SR-12 The diluted it in water then dribbled it over the throat lumps. The tiny little worms then reacted to the drug and the vet used tweezer forcep things to grab and pull them out. The worms were about half a centimetre long and clear looking. Sounded difficult but ended up being not so hard to do. Vet was surprised. I think there might be one left that we missed but we will look at it on next vet visit.

  370. Bronwyn says:


    Thanks for information re worming.

    Re: Pi coming close to use and head near floor- I have not seen this.They have very sharp hearing ie outside they listen for insects with head on the side and then dive at the ground and presto and insect or grub.

    I would just go with your instinct and give an affectionate cuddle or scratch etc.If he doesn’t like it he will soon tell you.

  371. jeri says:

    Hi Lisa,

    My little guy does this too. He runs over to me, gets in close and puts his head down. I just cuddle him, which does seem to be what he expects!! He has also taken to cuddling into my 7 year old daughter when she sits on the floor. As soon as we pick him up he just cuddles down.

    The other thing which he is now doing more is following me around and pecking at my feet. He lives in the laundry at the moment and when I’m taking the washing out of the machine he jumps to a from each pile, pecking and pulling at it like he’s playing, very funny.

    On a more serious note, Bronwyn, I know you’ve probably answered this a thousand times, but he has the little white lumps at the back of his mouth at the bottom. I’m thinking it’s thrush. Is there anything I can buy from the pet store to treat it? My husband is not keen on me taking him to the vet, for several reasons, ie, financial, and in case they take him from us, due to the legal thing!!

    many thanks to all, Jeri

  372. MARGIE says:


  373. Bronwyn says:


    Thrush- Candida Albicans- A yeast infection can be treated with home remedies-You may wish to google “raw apple cider vinegar” in the food to establish an acidic PH and “gentian violet” applied topically on the affected areas.I have not personally done this but I have read that they are both safe.A severe yeast infection is serious and may not clear with this.An antifungal treatment from the vet may be necessary- you may need to get this diagnosed.

  374. Lisa says:


    Spirvroid worms could be the reason your magpie has white lumps in the back of the mouth on the bottom (Spread by Mosquitos ). Pi had these and the vet treated them. Go back and read my earlier posts. I took Photos of this and would like to be able to share them with others if there is a way. We could compare them to your little guy. I rang the vet first when I got my magpie and asked about treating my bird if I was willing to look after him. Maybe you just have to find the right vet, if you have choices. Phone around and ask the question. Good Luck.

  375. jeri says:

    Thanks Lisa and Bronwyn for the support. Lisa I’d really love to see the photos of Pi. I did have a really good look at the lumps yesterday morning and I think they are more thrush like from what I’ve read. I went to our local pet store yesterday morning. They have a really great bird guy who was really helpful with feeding advice last week and sympathetic. I managed to get some antibiotics and started “Jack” on them.

    I gave it to him in his food about midday and he took a turn for the worse about an hour and half later! It was really hot yesterday, so that could also have had something to do with it, but I found him on the laundry floor, kinda flat, and his breathing was really shallow. He didn’t respond to me and scared the hell out of me for a while. He also wouldn’t eat. Normally, whenever you go into the laundry he shouts for food and runs around. Eventually about 4.00pm him got up and started moving. I managed to get a little apple into him and water but not much else. He also had diarrhoea! By bed time last night, he seems much better and this morning seems back to himself.

    I’m going to carry on with the antibiotics for the week. I gave them as per directions, but maybe I’ll but the dose back a little.

    His eye is still really the same. I’ve been bathing and aloe’ing for a week now and it has remained the same size. It looks healthier, but no more improvement in size or vision. He definitely can’t see out of it!

    As if this wasn’t enough my hubby went into his shed yesterday morning and found a baby swallow on the floor. He has had a nest in the roof for a few weeks and has been concerned about how they would cope if it suddenly hotted up! Well of course yesterday it did and one had obviously tried to get away from the heat and fell. He decided to take the nest down and put it in a box lower down. The poor thing were nearly cooked. He used a water spray on them, which seemed to help. The one that fell about 30 feet didn’t seem good but amazingly made a recovery later on, although he is the smallest one! So now we had three tiny swallow babies and are hoping mum and dad will be happy with their relocation and all will be smooth!!

    Happy birding!! LOL!

  376. Bronwyn says:


    Antibiotics will not work if “Jack” has a yeast or canker. They may help for the eye.I would suggest that you take him to a vet to get a diagnosis.Diarrhoea is serious and can kill very quickly.It is important to keep up fluids as dehydration is very rapid-Electrolyte solution-Gastrolyte from the pharmacy.

  377. jeri says:

    Hi Bronwyn, As I said he is much better this morning and the diarrhoea has stopped. I have phoned three local vets and none of them are prepared to help! I got the same story from them all which was it is illegal to keep wild birds. I am trying my best and just thought the antibiotics wouldn’t harm. My thinking was that if there was an underlying infection there, I’d get it. I am going to try to get the gentian violet today, and have started him on the apple cider vinegar.

  378. Heather says:

    Hi Jeri Bronwyn and Co, it is great to read about all your advice and probs with magpies.

    Jeri could you perhaps contact an accreditted shelter in your area? They will have a vet that they have an ongoing relationship with.

    Yes it is illegal to keep Australian birds without a permit. Here in Victoria we can become a Carer for and accreditted shelter, they have permits from the DSE.

    I have a great relationship with Jean, my local shelter-owner, helping out with feeds and cleaning and so forth. I have seen many babay maggies come and go, they can drop and die in a heartbeat when you haven’t observed anything in particular that seems to be the trouble.

    If you can’t find a shelter, contact the DSE and they should be about to help you find one. If you are in Victoria, there is a very highly resepcted bird-specialist shelter in Gippsland – I’m happy to pass on the details if you’ll let me have your email address.

    Good luck! Look forward to hearing how it all goes. πŸ™‚
    Regards, Heather.

  379. jeri says:

    Hi Heather, Thanks for you reply. When I first took him I had a leaflet of a local organisation that looks after wildlife. I rang them and was given some general advice about how to put him back outside. I am on the Gold Coast and there is a large wildlife park here that she said I could take him to. She did also say though that being a “black and white” they were considered pests and he wouldn’t really be given priority!! There is an Animal Welfare league locally. I wonder if they would help? Although they are connected with the council so again may want to take the official route. My aim is totally to release him when he is well enough. I have no intentions of keeping him as a pet. What is the DSE, sorry don’t know.

  380. Heather says:


    Harry Pappas in Gippsland would be happy to help you and suggests you email him on:

    You can try calling him on (03) 5122 1235, he has an answering maching with a funny american voice, not personalised.

    Harry has 180+ birds in his care and thus is outside 12 hours per day. If you email him all the details of what is happening with your maggie he is happy to advise. He says the white lumps are most likely to be thrush and can be treated by Nilstat from the chemist, and that whoever told you that the birds are pests are talking nonsense.

    DSE is a Vic state gov dept,don’t know what your equivalent is.

    Good luck, keep us posted.

    Regards, Heather.


  381. jeri says:

    Thank you so much for all that Heather. I will definitely phone Harry. In the meantime, I have at last found a sensible vet. I have an appointment at 3.00 this afternoon. She did ask all the carer questions, but said that to be honest, I was doing everything a carer would do and that the local carers are totally overwhelmed at the moment and would appreciate the help!! I think it is thrush and not worms but either way, I can get it treated.

    Thanks so much, I’m sure someone like Harry will have invaluable advice regarding his release if it does turn out that he only has one eye long term.


  382. Heather says:

    No worries Jeri, good luck. πŸ™‚

  383. Bronwyn says:


    I know that you are doing all that you can.It is a difficult situation when you are told on the one hand that it is illegal to keep a wild bird and on the other that they are a pest and not really interested.I am so glad that Heather has given you a contact for Bird Rescue.I am sure that you will get a correct diagnosis and treatment.It must be frustrating for you.All the best and let us know how you get on.

  384. Heather says:

    Hi Bron,

    It is a most confounding situation, I totally agree! I have been following the stories on here for a while now and it is very heart-warming to see people like yourself checking in and helping too. I’m sure you have plenty on your own plate at home!

    I would be a registered carer if only I could … but my working hours make it impossible at present. Mind you, I have a heck of a lot to learn, to say the very least. We are so fortunate to have the internet with sites like this available.



  385. Trevor says:

    Isobelle forwarded this comment via email:

    Hi Jeri
    I am also on the Gold Coast and have been in touch with some one local who helped me in the past. We have recently helped a magpie with fishing line tangled around his legs and the more he tried to pull it off the tighter it got. If we hadn’t intervened when we did, he would possible have lost at least one of his feet. We have a few around we have helped, and we have names for them, they seem to know who they can trust ie; we have given them names and somehow they know we watch out for them, “One Foot”, “Broken Beak”, “Bent Leg” and “Scruffy”. Poor Scruffy is a genetic failure, with his feathers growing in all directions and he really is scruffy. If you are interest in discussing anything about the magpies and helping them, email me direct. Isobelle.

  386. Trevor says:

    Hi Isobelle,

    Thanks so much for your message. It is encouraging to hear that you have helped so many and they are still around and visiting. “Jack” is doing well and seems very healthy now. By the end of the week he will have finished his course of meds for the thrush. I am trying to handle him less and am just putting his food on the floor for him to look for. He is now doing this well. Really by the weekend I will have done all I can for him and it is release time. I am concerned about how he will fair with one eye. I think to be honest, I am looking for someone to tell me it’s ok to let him go! I volunteered in rescue centres in the UK for domestic animals and fostered many dogs. I suppose I’m struggling with the getting him well and letting him go bit. It is totally what I want to do.

    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Jeri

  387. Leah says:

    Hi everyone!
    We have a gang of magpies that we’ve been feeding regularly for the last two years. Yesterday I noticed that one of them had a little baby that is obviously just learning to fly as it has spent most of it’s time close to the ground. I checked on it this morning and noticed it was limping – it’s left claws were all curled up. The first time I checked Mum was nearby, but the second time I couldn’t see her anywhere. I am nervous that the little one will be attacked by other magpies or crows….he is just so cute…..should I intervene or let nature take it’s course?? Does he have a chance at survival with a lame foot? I’m currently pregnant so I think my mothering/protective hormones are sky rocketing. Your opinions and advice will be much appreciated.

  388. Trevor says:

    This is Trevor the writer and moderator of this site.

    Thanks to everyone for all your helpful suggestions about helping our bird life. You are a truly wonderful group of people.

    I’ve largely kept out of this discussion for 2 reasons:
    1. I have no experience in caring for ill, injured or orphaned birds – so I am more than happy for others to fill this void.
    2. Lack of time – I am in the last two weeks of completing my Masters degree (the crazy things we do in our 60s)

    Just a point of clarification – if you wish to answer each other do so by leaving a comment, or a reply.

    Try not use the contact form as that only goes to me and not to general readers. Also try not hit reply in your email programme either as only I will get that – Isobelle and Jeri’s last comments came that way which means extra work for me to copy and paste.

    On the other hand, if you ONLY want to write to me, use the contact form.

    Keep up the good work folks – much appreciated. (Now back to my thesis paper).

  389. Bronwyn says:


    re your one eye sighted magpie.I don’t have any personal experience of this but I would want to ascertain whether he could forage for his own food and see well enough to fly, to be able to survive in the wild.I don’t know if you have a Bird Rescue Centre nearby, but putting him in a large aviary with high perches could test his flying abililty once he was old enough. For release back into the wild, he would also need to have the long flight feathers and he would need to be put him back where you found him.

    Leah- Birds with “curled feet” can often be successfully treated but his foot needs to be “splinted” – feet are splayed in a natural position on a flat surface cut specifically to the shape of the splayed feet with the claws overhanging, so that they can still perch and use the claws for griping. I use plastic icecream carton modeled on the good foot,gauze to pad and micropore tape to secure the foot/leg in the natural position and leave this for 2-3 weeks.This works well- a Bird Rescue Centre should know how to do this.I would want to try to correct his feet to give him a better chance in the wild. Hope this helps.

  390. jeri says:

    Hi Bronwyn,

    I am keeping him in my laundry so he does has good space and today I’ve noticed that he is flying much more. Up until now he has just hopped on top of the washer and run around on the floor, but this morning he was flying around from the door frames to the top of the tall cupboards. He has all his tail and wing feathers, just fluffy on his chest.

    As for the foraging, I’ve been putting a tray with dirt and leaves down with his food in it, so that he has to find it. He has done this really well and for the last two days has fed himself completely on his own.

    I am also making a big effort not to handle him now, which is tough as I used to love to pick him up when he ran to me. Maybe tomorrow I’ll look for a bird rescue place in my area and they could keep him until he is older, if you think that would be best. The thing is I’m not in a position to keep him much longer with various other commitments.

    Isobelle do you know of any place that could take him on the Gold Coast?

    Thanks, Jeri

  391. jeri says:

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to let you know I found a bird carer in my area that is more than happy to take him. She is with Wildlife Australia and specialises in carnivorous birds. She has large flight avaries so he can be with other maggies and learn to fly. When he gets older and has proven his flight ability we can hopefully release him. I’m over the moon with this outcome. I had no idea how this would pan out, so it’s great to think he has a nice future in front of him and it was all worth it. Thanks for this idea Brownwyn, I wouldn’t have known this was a possibility.

    Regards, Jeri

  392. Bronwyn says:


    I am so pleased for you and your little magpie.It is wonderful that you have found a bird rescue carer that is willing to take him. It is great to read of the caring,compassionate people.Thank you for letting us know the great outcome.You made this possible by caring and looking after him.It brings happy tears to my eyes that there are so many caring people-you being one of them.

  393. jeri says:

    Thank you…….Thanks to you all.

  394. Heather says:

    Great news Jeri!

  395. jeri says:

    Just thought I’d update you all. I took “Jack” to the wildcare lady on Sunday morning. As soon as she saw him she said that he had gape worm, just like Pi! I was so frustrated that I had been treating him for a week for thrust, for no reason. I had really questioned the vet about gape worm and he was sure it was thrush.

    Anyway, he is now being treated and is in an aviary with other magpies and learning to fly. I have to say it was one of the hardest things I’d done for a while. I hadn’t realised just how attached we’d gotten.

    The upside is that I enjoyed it so much and having seen just how overwhelmed this lady was, I decided to get some training and become a carer. Very excited!

  396. Helen says:

    Good on you Jeri. I am sure it will bring you many ups and downs. You will learn heaps, do great things and have the honest satisfaction of doing it for the greater good.


  397. Lisa says:

    Wow wish I had someone nearby. I’m in Goondiwindi. Pi’s plaster came off and though pi will always have a limp he is going great. I have been feeding him live crickets and grasshoppers. Pi is also starting to fly out of the yard and around the neighbourhood. Can I say my heart is in my mouth everytime he flies off thinking he may not return. His eyes and beak have also all cleared up. Goodbye Pox. The students are sad that he no longer goes to school with me. The biggest worry is that the cat and him are quite good friends. This could be the death of him when he encounters other felines out there. One of the teachers brought me a little baby bird and I thought it might be a Noisy minor, but it is some sort of honey eater. But I seem to have become the schools wildlife officer. May have to join you Jeri and get some real training.

    Now for the advice. How old does everyone think a magpie needs to be to be able to survive on there own?

  398. Trevor says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Young magpies are able to find food for themselves about 20 days after fledging (leaving the nest). They will continue to beg for food and be fed by the parents for 2-3 months. Some will still beg for food 6-9 months of age but are usually not fed. So most would have to be at least 3 months old to be considered fully independent.

  399. Lisa says:

    Pi flew away on sunday and I haven’t seen him since. My neighbour saw me on thursday afternoon and told me she found a dead young magpie in her back yard. So 2 + 2 = Pi is dead. Sad. Thanks everyone and maybe next year?????

  400. Helen says:

    so sorry to hear your conclusion Lisa. Hopefully one day you will be pleasantly surprised.

  401. Louise Cornelius says:

    Hi everyone. in an earlier post I told you about the 5 Magpies that i feed here in Tasmania, and how they were coming for food and taking it back to the nest for their young. Well I am pleased to say that over the weekend, not one but two of the pairs brought their young to visit! They have got at least 5 babies between them all! The fifth bird who has been hanging around with little to do has also started taking food from my hand which is nice. I dont think she is too impressed by her noisy brothers and sister though! For those who are interested in seeing the young ones I have posted a clip on You Tube called Magpie Family. To those of you who have been hand raring or caring for Magpie young keep up the good work. For those who have lost some, I feel your pain becasue they really are beautiful and often misunderstood birds πŸ™‚

  402. Vicki says:

    I went on holidays for three weeks, and left a couple of friends “Daisy and Didak”, I think they may have called in now and then and the maggies went elsewhere for regular feeds. A few of my neighbours said they were around the neighbourhood in and out of their yards getting as much attention as they could manage. I have been home ten days and haven’t sighted either of them. Do these delightful birds always remember where they started off. I miss them dreadfully and am always in the yard calling them. One day I hope they will surprise me with a visit. Has anyone had a Magpie that left for quite a while and returned?
    Any information so greatly appreciated.
    Have a great week everyone.

  403. Vicki says:

    I mucked up on previous post. I mean’t I had a couple of friends that were mean’t to call in daily and feed my babies “Daisy and Didak”. I think they may have left them to fend for themselves and that is why they have flown the coup! I never caged the birds, but they always went off through the day but my place was their home base and they would fly in and out all day long, sometimes just to be fed or just to rest and play!

  404. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Vicki,
    Magpies are territorial and your home would be their territory, so in theory they may be back to greet you.Magpies can leave the territory in search of a mate but your magpies are quite young. I had a magpie from a chick and she laid eggs from the second year (all unfertile) but it wasn’t until the 5th year that she flew off with a male that was hanging around the garden.I too missed her dearly but a lady contacted me a month after her disappearance asking what to feed the fledgling magpies in her garden and reported that one of the parents was tamer than the other and whistled two tunes that I had taught her. I was content that she had a family and I didn’t go and search her out.( it was tempting but she needed to be with her new family and mate.
    The fact the you have never caged your magpies is an advantage and so they will be very capable of looking after themselves. I hope they decide to return to visit you.

  405. Cheryl says:


    For the last 15 months I have been raising a magpie, I called him/her Joey. Four days ago he flew away and hasnt come back. He lived in a huge pergola area at the back of our house. He didnt venture out because he was afraid of the several currawongs that frequent our back yard. I had a very special relationship with this bird and I cant believe how devastated I am that he is gone. We played together lots and he would get sooo excited to see me in the mornings and when i got home from work each day. I didnt get to say bye as the wind blew open some of the protected area where he lived and he was gone before i knew it. Hoping he is safe. Miss him heaps…

  406. Andy says:

    Hi Cheryl-
    Firstly, can I say that I totally empathise with how you are feeling. It is such a wonderful thing to bond with an animal, and magpies are such clever and magical birds. It is amazing how they capture our hearts and they leave a hole there when they go. I know the mixed feelings all carers get when your ‘baby’ leaves – you are glad that they can now go and live their life as nature intended, but we sure do miss their spirits. It is even worse when they do not make it and pass on to the next life.
    I guess the way that I cope is to remember the fact that we helped them on their way, one way or the other. When it works out and they live, the fact that they were strong and confident enough to leave us is a gift we gave them. The gift they gave us is that incredible bond and link to nature that feeds our own spirits.
    Another will come your way, be sure of that and you will help it just the same and you will have the same rollercoaster ride again, if it dies or if it lives and leaves. Thanks to you and everyone that taking that ride.

  407. Voula Hatzi says:

    Im hoping you can provide me with some answers. I have a number of magpies that have been coming to my house for last year and that I have been feeding. They return with their young also. One of the female has been bringing her latest offspring for the last month or so and I have noticed that this youngster has abnormal growths around its beak nearest to the face. It also has them around 1 eye and Im not sure if this eye is even open or functional. I am very concerned. What could they be???

  408. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Voula Hatzi,

    It is possible that magpies have an infestation of mites around the eyes and head.I don’t know about the beak growhts.In my experience,with mites the feathers start to fall out around the eyes and head and they can become completely bald. This is reversible and with treatment the mites just fall off. It could also be a fungal infection or something else.I don’t know. I would advice you to try to catch the fledgling and take him to an avian vet for diagnosis and treatment. Hope this helps.

  409. Wayne says:

    Could anyone shed some light on a disease in magpies. I started feeding a pair that hang around my yard about eight months ago. 1 of the pair seemed to have beak damage. While both upper and lower beaks had receeded,the upper beak had receeded further than the lower. As time went on the condition worsened. They had a family and were bringing 2 young-ens with them.Eventually the healthy 1 stopped coming and I found a dead maggie on the nature strip. (I live on a main road in suburbia, about 50,000 cars pass a day.) Now the parent with the deteriorating beak still comes in a couple of times a day with it’s kids. The beak is still receeding and now it is losing the white feathers on the back of the neck. It can still fend for itself in the wild as I work away. 3 weeks away, 3 weeks home. So it feeds itself for those 3 weeks. It looks like a disease rather than damage and it is deteriorating all the time. The ends of the beak are worn, not broken. Othewise it seems healthy.It sings for it’s food. By the way I only feed them fresh mince meat. Not sure what else to give them. I have no plans on trying to catch it and take it to a vet as I am sure that they would only put it down and since it is self feeding and active I shouldn’t otherwise interfere. Any help would be much appreciated.

  410. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Wayne,

    I am not sure re receding beak- it could be calcium deficiency but if they are feeding themselves for three weeks while you are away, this shouldn’t be a problem as there is the correct portion of calcium- magpies need a higher level of calcium per weight of bird than other birds, and all vitamins and minerals in the exoskeleton of insects.Mince alone is not a good substitute- you need to add a calcium supplement and Wombaroo Insectivore mix,which has a high protein content and vitamins and minerals added.You can add raw egg yolk to mince which will add some nutrients. Feather loss could be a severe mite infection-this can be extremely debilitating but can be treated with Ivomec.You need to get this from a registered vet and the bird needs to be weighed to ascertain the correct dosage.Canker- also another common disease in magpies and if advanced there are yellow lesions in the mouth and oesophagus-can be treated but if advanced the bird will eventually succumb. If you had a friendly vet or Bird Rescue person close perhaps they could give you advice.I hope this helps.

  411. Trevor says:

    Hi Bronwyn,

    Thanks for your reply. As the bird seems otherwise healthy I will leave it be. I will get some Wombaroo Insectivore for it though. I take it it is something I can mix with the mince. I have attached 2 pictures as I couldn’t upload them to the web page. Again thank you for your time.

    Wayne Schultz.

  412. Trevor says:

    Thanks Bronwyn and Wayne.

    Thanks for the photos Wayne – they came to me via email. You can’t add photos to this site as I only use my own photos here. There are many other sites that allow photos to be posted, and you could then link back to here so my readers can see them.

  413. Gail Bauer says:

    I too have a garden full of wonderful birds. I feed them but only small amounts and plants trees and shrubs to provide food as well. I have magpies for the 8 years I have lived here and have watched so many young leave the nest. They don’t go far and still call in for a snack and a hello. They are parents themselves now. I have noticed one young one this season with growths on its head, beak and legs. It is in a bit of pain and was worried it would die. I did a google check and found out it has ‘Magpie Pox’ from being bitten my mosquitoes. So hopefully this little fellow will be ok. I just love birds. I have a blind Carrawong that was hit by a car and I have had him over a year now. I wouldn’t trade my bird family for anything.

  414. Bettina says:

    I have been regularly feeding two magpies for over two years. In September they stopped their visits. They visited once over Christmas. Then, for the past week I have had them sitting at the back door calling out for me just as they did before. It’s nice to have them back and to know they are safe.

  415. Chris says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Has anyone ever noticed a large growth on the feet of visiting magpies?
    I have a 4 mth old baby that visits, and he (assuming its a boy) has a large growth about the size of a marble on his middle toe, just a little above the claw.
    Today it is cracked and bleeding. It doesn’t seem to hinder his mobility with walking, but looks very painful.
    Was hoping someone could advise if there is a solution to help this?

    Thanks in advance

  416. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting my site Gail and Bettina, and for sharing stories about our birds.

  417. Trevor says:

    Can anyone please help Chris with her question about magpies?

  418. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Chris-Re Growth on Magpie foot.Is the growth accessible so that you could tie a piece of cotton around it tightly? This would essentially cut off the circulation to the growth and it would eventually fall off.If it is bleeding he is obviously catching it on things.If you have aloe vera or Active Manuka Honey. you could apply this to the wound.Both have antibacterial properties and would aid in preventing infection. Hope this helps.

  419. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your help Bronwyn. Where would I be without you helping all my readers? I will have to make you this site’s Honorary Medical Advisor. LOL

  420. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    I am glad to help.Thank you for your kind words Trevor.

  421. Chris says:

    Hi Everyone, thanks for your assistance.
    The problem is Magpie Pox. You can read more about it by visiting ‘Magpie Pox’ at the bottom of this page :
    I was provided this information by the great people at Bird Care :
    (sorry for the promotion Trevor, but they are great resources for your readers).

    Apparently its treatable by a balanced diet and by applying iodine.

    Today I made little tofu,cheese, parsley and Insectivore ‘balls’ to feed the magpies. When the baby came to feed, I sprayed its feet with the iodine solution, which it didn’t seem to mind.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  422. Trevor says:

    No problems – thanks for your help Chris.

  423. kaye says:

    Hi fellow Maggie lovers… I have enjoyed reading all your stories and it has helped… I live in Bundoora with very large ovals and parklands. I have studied our blk/wht friends for a while and have some fantastic footage. However they can also be very cruel to their young. I know its a part of nature but if you read on you will understand. I have one family that I look after. There is the main older bird ( I call her Nonna ) and two younger birds which are a pair. So there were 3 birds on my side of the fence and on the other side of the fence were another family.(this was sept 2008) Then in 2009 the pair and nonna introduced me to their baby. which I have become so close him.. they would get stuck into him when I went to feed them. I knew it was so he would learn to fend for his own food and not become dependant of me which I understand but I would still occupy them and put his food elsewhere so he would get a called him Me-Me as this is the sound the young make when they are hungry..we talk to each other and have such a lovely bond!! The two different families meet at the wrought iron fence at the school and my backyard and have meetings with each other both being very cautious not to cross over to the other side of the fence.. They will talk to each other for ten minutes, like a massive debate. Just as we do in a board room meeting. Then Sept last year the same two made another nest and had 3 babies. They brought the 3 down to meet me whilst teaching them to fly but the youngest could not get back up the tree that night and I knew the local cats would have captured it… so I took it and kept it in a box with some towels and then the next morning opened the box as I layed their food out and that way they did not think I stole their bird. (some will kill their young if tampered with) but within a week it still could not get up the trees and sadly went missing.. I feel I should have done more for the little fellow but i knew not to interfere with nature to much… by now my Me-Me had lost his grey fluffy feathers and was now black… his job was to teach the other babies now.. and at feeding time it was the same .. Nonna first with the parents.. then MeMe and then the babies … they are loud when hungry and the parents were so brutal and peck at them if they got out of line… It is now that time of the year when they are breeding again..On Sunday my family of six (Nonna, Mum , dad, Meme, 2 babies) came down for a feed…and I heard some painful sounds… I went out to where their food was and my Me Me was there getting attacked by the older 3 birds..(parents & nonna) at first I thought it was one of the other birds on the otherside of the fence .. but the way the bird looked at me in the eye as it was being attacked .. I knew it was my Meme..I tried to stop them from attacking him… it was killing me to watch… Meme flew into the air and then tried to land back onto the table where the food was and they swooped at him again… He looked me in the eye and flew of… and has not been seen since then. Also the younger of the babies has also gone.. It is now the original 3 with one baby… I have gone for walks as MeMe would come when I call him.. and would waddle like a duck beside me.. he is nowhere to be found and I feel like Ive let him down…I have such an empty space inside me now and I prey he and the other baby which was extrodited are both safe

    • Jen says:

      Kaye it was heartbreaking to read your post as I am currently going through the same experience. We have been supplementing a family with kangaroo mince and insectivore since their babies were born last year and unfortunately the other day the Dad maggie started attacking his son. The son would make this horrible screeching sound and cower and I did all I could to protect him but unfortunately we have not seen him since. It has been devastating and I am desperately missing his calls. He would often fly straight towards me if he saw me out the front of the house and would often come if called. He had quite the personality and I didn’t realise how attached I had become until he had gone. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone, and please don’t feel like you have let him down you did everything you could and I am sure he knew that.

  424. kaye says:

    Hi Jen.. thanks for your support… I also feel for you as well… I have hope that one day he will return … he knows me and i think he will always remember me… Since my last posting they are ready to lay their new offspring. They have now also got rid of the two younger ones? Its back to the original 3 and its so quiet. There is such a void. The only comfort is when reading up above back to the posting Monday 27th December, 2010 at 6:43 pm by Cheryl… She was lucky to have found that her baby was living with her new family not far away from her house so she got to see that she was now happy and alive:):) Lets hope we both get the same satisfaction one day… I have many animals and also do my best to save stray animals and I never would have thought a Maggy would have touched me so much as this one did::) xxx

  425. Jen says:

    Hi Kaye thanks for replying and I have to say never give up hope as our little guy came back this morning for a visit. Thankfully Dad was not around so i guess he got a chance to sneak in and say hello. I almost cried as I had missed him so much and just thought I’d never get to see him again. It’s only been a few weeks but he has grown so much. Not sure if we will see him again or not but just knowing he is alive and well was enough for us. I hope you can find your missing little guy or that he can come for a sneaky visit like ours did.

  426. Fiona says:

    Hi everyone, I just had to leave a comment after reading everyone’s stories, I LOVE this site!! It is so nice to read about like-minded people who love magpies as I do. I am tired of hearing people complain about swooping magpies, if they just took the time to get to know these beautiful birds maybe they would love them as much as we do. I am caring for a little baby maggie who fell from a nest and he makes me so happy with the little characteristics, he is adorable. I am feeding him mince, eggs, breadcrumbs and dog kibble and he is absolutely thriving and has grown so much, I am hoping to release him eventually, however if that isn’t possible I am very happy to hang onto him.

  427. Anita says:

    Hi. I found a little baby magpie in my garden on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne. His parents live close by and frequent my garden daily. I watched the bird for quite some time but took him inside as he cant fly and it seemed his parent s had stopped feeding him. He doesnt have tail feathers and is still all grey and soft and downy. Only his head looks black and white like a magpoie with just a few grey feathers still remaining there. When he was outside he had flies that were all over him and appeared to be attacking him though i found no obvious sign of actual injury to the bird. I took him inside and he appears quite happy. He is feeding well (if his poo is any indication. I am wondering how best to care for him. Shall i keep putting him outside in the day and bvrigning him inside in the evening? There are many cats in the area (my own included) and i dont want anything bad to happen to him as i have fallen in love. I am feeding him porridge, dog food and mince and was thinking of also getting a mineral supplement to add to his food? I have been soaking his food with water as im not sure how to get him to drink. SHould i use a surringe? Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanking you in advance,


  428. Bronwyn Atkinson says:

    Hi Anita,
    Good on you for taking the little fledgling in and looking after him.Mince plus Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing mix has all the nutrients,minerals and vitamins that are necessary.You need to add a calcium supplement as magpies need more calcium than other species.Make the mince/insectivore mix into a soft long pellet (about 1.5 -2cms in length)Moisten the insectivore/mince mixture with a little water to form the pellet and when he begs pop it into his mouth.This will be all the water that he needs initially.
    If there are cats around, I wouldn’t put him outside during the day.You may want to see if the parents are still around and pop him in a tree but only if you can supervise.He would definitely be cat fodder if left to his own devices.

  429. Sandy Scott says:

    Hi i just found a baby magpie this morning. Got it home and in a box and have put water and the only meat I had was chicken necks, so cut small pieces off for him Will he eat it alone or do I have to hold it up to his mouth. Do they need a perch? Thank you anyone that can help me. I am in Adelaide.

  430. kaye says:

    Hi Anita & Hi Sandy Scott… Its kaye the crazy bird lady as Im known to my…. Firstly Dear Anita… please do not let the baby back outside at night… I made that fatal mistake with my guys… The first time they took the 3 chicks out of the nest at my back door to see me first thing in the morning… two of them were able to fly high enough to get half up a tree…. the third one… was not able to … I waited until dusk and still he was only about one metre high off the ground… I went back out and got him… he made such loud crys and the parents called back to him… they were going to come to his rescue but then they saw it was me… I think they knew what I was doing… that night inside a nice box and some towels he slept in my laundry nice and snug like he would have been in the nest. Food and fluids are vital in all living creatures ..This is to both Anita and Sandy who have the pleasure of a new baby Maggie… I went to my local Safeway store and you can buy them in a pack of 3. They are tongs… but mini tongs… and instead of the ends being cold stainless steel… they are a black plastic substance .. I think you can get these anywhere… I found by putting a tiny piece of food and putting this near his little mouth … and dropping it in like the mother does when she feeds him… I hope this is of some help.. I found it easier than trying to do it with my fingers plus I didnt want my human smell to touch the food so he can go back to his mum . MY story ended up with NO happy ending ….. I took him outside next morning and opened up the box to let him hop out.. then I called the parents down and the other chicks so they could see I did not harm the weaker chick…Parents were still accepting to him and tried to feed him.. I was very happy that I had not interefed to much! That night I let him stay outside… I felt somewhat guilty that perhaps he was supposed to learn by staying out there like nature intended. Sadly He lasted one night and the following day I saw feathers and no more baby bird. I could have saved him by doing what my motherly instincts told me to do.. instead I did what others told me was the best thing to do… So I urge you both to keep him safe and sound while you get some expert advice:) I wish I had of done this:)

  431. Kayla says:

    Hi all, wow what an amazing site, I just recently came across a baby magpie in my chicken coop. She’s got her wing feathers but still not quite able to fly, we were just wondering how old she would be. This is our first attempt at helping a baby magpie, but she has already taken a very strong liking to my sister who in return has fallen in love with her. We want to do the best by her so any help and advise would be greatly appreciated.


    • Sandy Scott says:

      Hi Kayla, I found one last Friday, his hame is Tony. I am coping very well. Googled Baby Magpies and got good ideas. He is eating very well and looking extremely well and bright. I cut up steak into long strips with kitchen scissors and then hold pieces with tweezers and he eats it off that, very greederly. I also put calcium on it and soak it in water to hydrate him. He had a little egg yesterday, soaked bread, mince meat, apple and watermelon. I am certainly getting attached but of course will set him free when he is bigger and can fend for himself. I am sure he will still stay around our yard knowing he will be fed regularly. Cheers, Sandy

      • Trevor says:

        Hi Sandy,

        Thanks for your helpful suggestions. One point of concern, however. Please do not feed bread to magpies – or any bird for that matter. It has no nutritional value to them and can be harmful to them in quantities.

        • Kayla says:

          Thanks for all your suggestions. We’ve actually been to the fodder store and have bought some Wombaroo mix. and she seems to be liking it. It does have instructions for using it as a supplement with mince but doesn’t have when to start doing that. Another point which I wanted to ask about is, we haven’t heard a peep from her. Not even when its dinner time. So we’re not sure how often we should be feeding her. Is this normal??

          Thanks in advance

  432. kaye says:

    Hi Kayla its Kaye… The birds are usualy quiet in the nest.. both the mother and father take it in turns to feed the baby birds.. whilst one is up there the other is near by waiting for the other to finish and then they swap…. It is when the babies see the parents they all start making a noise… so maybe your bird is hungry but when you put some food up to its mouth thats when you will hear him.. The trouble is that when we do take them on they are not going to be taught how to survive in the wild.. eg.. finding worms and spiders, crickets etc… maybe somebody here can point us out on what to do for when its time for the bird to be set into the wild.. and then will the parents accept it or think its another bird flying in their territory… Im not sure if your read my blog from last week but those mini tongs with the black plastic tip (not stainless steel) they are also good for a substitute for a mothers beak?

  433. Sandy says:

    Hi there, Sandy here. Just a thank you for your advice re my baby magpie. All is going great. I did Google things too and he is going very, very well. Eating well, a variety and looking alert and perky. He will go into an aviary when he can fly and when he is able and a little older I will set him free of course. I hope he stays around here so I can still feed him, he is VERY cute. So thank you very much. I walk every day in the park and take meat over for the maggies, I have about 10 that come right up close to me knowing they are going to get meat, very friendly.
    Sandy Scott.

  434. Sandy says:

    Hi Kayla, my little one is definitely very vocal, especially when he is hungry, although I am feeding him at least every one to two hours; if he is not hungry he won’t eat. On Google they say they should eat about 2 golf balls of food a day, which my Tony is doing. Today I boiled an egg and then cut it up, shell and all as was suggested for calcium too, and he loved that. I give him his last feed at about 8pm and he goes through until about 6.30am His first feed of the day is not full on, he has to wake up, but after about half an hour he really gets into it. I have ground up cuttlefish too to a powder form and sprinkle it on the slithers of meat, once again, calcium. They did say give him crushed up dog biscuits, which I did, but it made his “business” very runny so I have stopped that now and his motions are great. He is obviously getting enough water through the meat I put into water, so he is hydrated. I hope yours starts chirping soon, a sure sign they are well I think. Good luck. Sandy

  435. Kayla says:

    Hi Sandy, we just tried the boiled egg, she did eat some but I was hoping that she looked to enjoy it a bit more. Still no chirping but we will persist. Oh by the way, we settled on Matilda Magpie (Matty for Short) for her name, now she is definately part of the family.

  436. kaye says:

    Hi Kayla…just Kaye again… I thought about what I wrote earlier this morning… I know the birds go off when the parents bring food… I guess it is like children yelling out…. Pick Me Pick Me…. and if your little one on its own has no competitors maybe that is why he is a little quiet… but as long as he is warm and secure and eating (fluids) and he is pooping then he is okay!

  437. Kayla says:

    Yeah that’s what we thought. She just stands in the cage not moving, but there wouldn’t be a lot of room to move around in a nest either. She’s still very alert and drinking lots. Maybe it is like children and we should be glad of the quietness. I have no doubt that she will soon find her voice then we’ll be in for it πŸ™‚

    • Sandy Scott says:

      Hey just thought I would also tell you. Seeing I have Tony inside cos it is too cold out at present, I have him in the laundry and just have the radio on quietly otherwise it would be dead silence and he would freak when I go into the room, even though I whistle and call out quietly before entering so as not to startle him. I do turn it off during the day so he can sleep and of course at night time. Just mellow music. Just gave him some more watermelon and apple and he loved it, stuck it inside the cage side so it stuck there and he just went for it solo. He is making the cutest noises now and is looking SO healthy and satisfied. I am so attached to him already. Cheers, Sandy.

  438. Sandy Scott says:

    Hi. I have Tony out in the lovely sun today, with some shade, he is loving it big time. Litening to all the birds up here must make him happy. He is eating just SO well and looking extremely healthy. Wonder when they start to talk, anyone know?? Sandy

  439. Heather James says:

    Hi everyone, I’ve been a fan of this blog for a few years now, and at last I have a magpie to care for! I suppose it’s more of a teenager than a baby so how much it will ever trust me who knows, but I’m looking forward to helping it back to nature when it’s ready, and enjoying the journey. Meanwhile am off to see if I can dig up some worms for a treat.

    Thanks so much everyone for all your stories and advice. I too would like to be a “proper” wildlife carer one day, but we all have to start somewhere I guess. I’m very fortunate to be in touch with a reasonably local shelter that care in excess of 180 birds so I have ready access to advice and assistance. I am very lucky πŸ™‚ Cheers, Heather.

  440. Kayla says:

    Hi all, just thought I’d let you know that I woke up this morning to the worst suprise. Little Matilda Magpie didn’t make it through the night. It was a tough lesson to learn for my sister who’s only 10, but we know we did our best. Thanks again for all your help and advise. This is the first place we’ll come if we happen to find another one.

  441. kaye says:

    R.I.P MATILDA…………… Dear Kayla….. I just had a tear in my eye… Im soooo sorry to hear the news…. You did everything to give Matilda a fighting chance… In the animal kingdom the weak are left to fend for themselves… Perhaps the parents knew this…. You should be very proud of yourself for trying the very best you could.. like finding this site and looking up info on the web… I think you will be blessed with another chance one day:) It was a truely honourable thing to do:) big hugs from kaye and all the other Maggie lovers on this site xxxxxxx

  442. Helen says:

    So sorry to hear the news Kayla. I hope that in time you will enjoy the memories of caring for the little one.

  443. kaye says:

    Hi Heather … You are correct .. this is a great site:):) As you would have read there are many stories… happy ones and sad ones…in regards to it being the season to … FINDING A BABY MAGGIE………. I was thinking … and TREVOR if you can help with this please…. We can make a nest or something similar so the baby maggies will feel snug and more in their natural habitat? I thought of getting something like a Plastic bowl or even an empty pot from a pot plant.. ( can be purchased at bunnings.. and maybe lining it with dacron or somthing to insulate it and then use straw/hay and some gum leaves and twigs etc… If anybody else has any ideas this can help us all out for when people come on the site with a new baby and does not know what to do??????

    • Trevor says:

      Hi there Kaye – Helen has some great ideas several comments below this one. She has used a hanging basket (from Bunnings) and leaves the coir lining and adds some gum leaves. Sounds good. Then at night she uses a reptile rock (electric – gives off heat) to keep them warm. Brilliant.

  444. Sandy Scott says:

    Oh Kayla, that is very, very sad. You did your best. I know I would be very sad if Tony died now, they have such gorgeous personalities. But really he seems to be SO well and happy. The amount he is eating is great and is making lovely little noises too. No doubt you have buried little Matilda in the garden somewhere? Had she been attacked by cats or other birds it would have been terrifying, but she probably just went to sleep and didn’t wake up, peaceful. RIP Matilda. Sandy

  445. Helen says:

    We bought a hanging basket with the coir insert. I think I probably threw in a few leaves from the tree with the original nest. Both Grumbles and Crumbles were happy in there.

    At night I used to put them in a box with an old towel, a layer of paper towel and a reptile rock (gives off steady, low heat, electric)

    Then during the day the babies would be outside, in a garden bed that was fenced off from our dog. The parents kept the babies fed and occasionally I would feed the parents.

  446. Kayla says:

    Thanks for all your kind words. We are lucky that she wasn’t attacked but either fell or was pushed from the nest (I’ve heard this is common). Maybe it was meant to be. I hope you all have success with your little ones, and cant wait to contribute to the site with our next one πŸ™‚

  447. Trevor says:

    Hi there all my readers. For lovers of baby Magpies, I’ve just added 4 more photos to this article. They were taken a few days ago in our garden and show a baby magpie just minutes out of the nest along with dad feeding it.

  448. Trevor says:

    All of you lovely people sharing your stories about magpies, I’m sure you will be interested in a new book about magpies. It contains hundreds of stories about magpies, articles on caring for them, what to feed them and much more. Readers of Trevor’s Birding are also offered a special extra too. Here is the link to read the review and how to order it:

  449. kaye says:

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…. how wonderful… thanks for sharing that with us Trevor:) You must be the proud… I think its gorgous how the male and female take in turns feeding the chicks… The males are very dedicated to their young.. and although many would argue with me that they all look alike.. I can still tell them apart>>> am I strange or can the rest the readers do the same??
    Yes… great idea about the hanging basket as the nest.. perfect! I used the same thing for my Long neck turtles and they are fantastic!

  450. Trevor says:

    Thanks Kaye. Yes – I sometimes feel like a proud grandfather to all of our wonderful birds. And today we had the delight of celebrating our human grandson’s 3rd birthday. As a part of the party we all went down to the local wetlands to talk to the ducks. Lovely precious moments.

  451. Michelle says:

    I’ve just picked one up when I was out walking my dogs. I would rather have left it for the parents to deal with it but there was not a magpie in sight, if my dogs hadn’t behaved well and stopped when I called them it would already be eaten and I could not bear to leave it behind for something else to get it instead.

  452. kaye says:

    Hi Michelle:) That was a kind thing to do… The babies have all been shown out of the safe nest and now been shown the real world. I hear my Male giving his call to say “where are you” There are plenty of very kind people on this site who will help you with any questions you have … As Helen mentioned above.. A hanging basket with the coir insert from Bunnings? it will feel safe in this:)

  453. Sandy Sctt says:

    Michelle that is what happened to me last Friday. So I have had my little “Tony” for a week today and he is thriving SO well. He is adorable and eats SO much. He is still in a cage in the laundry with a wide, wooden perch, so he literally squats down to his tummy when he sleeps (a small, thin perch is no good). When it is sunny I put him outside for an hour or so. I leave the radio going quietly in the laundry so he has constant sound, but of course turn it off during the day at intervals so he can sleep and at night time. He gets hydrated because I soak the meat in water and his “business” is a good colour and consistency, not too runny and not too firm. He still has the down on his chest and is not flapping his wings yet. When he does, we shall put him into a spare aviary we have and when bigger, set him free of course. Of course they must be kept warm, so kept inside out of the wind cos they don’t have their Mum and Dad to keep them warm. I put a towel over him at night. He is really a total sweetie pie and I love him. Good luck. Sandy

    • jeri says:

      Hi everyone, I was helped enormously last year with a baby Maggie that we fostered for a couple of months! He had one eye that had not developed properly and and a bad case of gape worm! We kept him lose in our laundry and as he got older I used a foraging tray to encourage him to look for his own food. It worked really well – just mud and leaves with meal worms and meat mixed through!! We eventually found a local carer with a flight aviary for him to practice his flying as the one eye hindered him slightly at first. Last I heard he was released and went well.

      This year the parents have successfully raised two babies and they are already out and flying. I can’t wait for her to introduce her new kids to us at the back door!

  454. Janelle says:

    we have had magpies for years in our garden but have never been swooped till this year, so I started feeding them and they stopped swooping and would wait every morning to be fed, but this week the babies disappeared and now the parents have gone, are they likely to come back, or is that what magpies do ?

  455. Trevor says:

    Hi Janelle, welcome to my site about birds. I suspect that the young magpies are still being fed by the adults and are not fully independent, though that will happen in a few weeks. At this stage the young are starting to test their independence and are flying further from their home territory. Soon they will leave and join a juvenile group until they are ready to breed and then the fun begins as they try to establish their own territory.

    Meanwhile, check around in the trees. I also think that their mother could well be sitting on eggs again. They often reuse the same nest. Magpies can have 2 or 3 broods in one season. You might have another batch of youngsters in a few weeks!

  456. kate says:

    Hi Trevor, I’ve wanted to ask someone’s advice for a few months now. I live in Perth and we had been feeding a group of magpies (7) for about a year. They were very friendly, cheeky and introduced their young to us. I used to walk back from work and they would see me and follow me home for their titbits (mince with insectivore). In August last year they seemingly disappeared. A week later they flew in to the front yard but seemed on edge. They ate quickly and then flew off (usually they hung around). We havent seen them since. I thought perhaps their territory could have been overtaken by another group, but now there are no magpies at all (for 5 months). I was also feeding magpie larks, grey butcher birds and crows. They also have disappeared. I cant even hear them in the trees, even when I’m walking through the streets.
    Do magpie groups do this, just take off and find new territory?
    I look forward to your thoughts.

  457. Trevor says:

    Coffee mugs: ​you can now buy coffee mugs featuring one of my magpie photos. Search the same site for many other items featuring my bird photos, including shirts, hats, stationery, key rings – and much more.

  458. anthea white says:

    Hi I have a family of maggies and butcher birds that visit us every day. Today I noticed the juvenille has half the top beak missing. I have fed her raw dog meat but she is having difficulty feeding. Do you think she has a parasite infection, should I ring the RSPCA or let nature take its course? Thanks for any comments.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Trevor its Kaye from melbourne:)

      I am trying to get onto your site to post some info for the broken beak maggie but my pc does not want to load the page for some reason….
      I was thinking if you could post this info from your end for her to see?

      It has been more than a day now since her post and as you said if the little fellow has not been able to eat it must be in excruciating pain by now…

      I have sourced some of the Wombaroo Insectivore 250gm
      on ebay for only $7.15 + $6.50 for postage..
      the link is –

      This may be useful to your readers?

      Its ingredients are-
      Whey protein, soy protein, meat meal, fish meal, blood meal, cereal bran, lysine, methionine, vegetable oils, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, mannan oligosaccharides, beta-glucans, carotenoids, taurine, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D3, E, K, nicotinamide, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, choline, inositol, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, selenium

      I just hope she is able to get it to a vet…

  459. BAtkinson says:

    Re Magpie with top beak problem. I would suggest that you take it to a vet or ring the RSPCA.If it is a parasite infection,this needs to be treated.If it is physically missing the top beak and cannot feed,it would die a horrible death in the wild of starvation or being attacked by predators.If there is not too much of the beak missing it may learn to feed itself but would require additional feeding until he managed to do this.Please use good quality mince and Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing mix- 50:50.Hard boiled egg and mince can be used while sourcing the insectivore mix which has all the nutritional requirements including calcium,minerals and vitamins.

  460. anthea white says:

    Hi thanks for the above information. I mentioned a parastite infection because I read this could be the problem for maggies and butcher birds, on another site. The magpie is not missing all of the top break but half. I am also guessing the age to be 8 months or so. The magpie still hangs out with sibbling and parents. I am still managing to feed her some dog meat using a stick and is managing to eat ok but if it falls of the stick the maggie has a problem pecking it back up onto her beak. I don’t think I would be able to capture the maggie and take it to a vet so may have to contact the RSPCA. I am assuming that the raw dog meat I obtain from the butcher is not of a good quality?

  461. B Atkinson says:

    Re Magpie with “half of top beak missing”.To capture a wild bird, you can entice it with food and throw a sheet over it and put it in a cardboard box with the flaps closed. Soft clean old linen can be placed in the box prior to capture, with a small ceramic bowl of water and a dish of fresh good quality mince and hard boiled egg mixture if no insectivore mix available.

  462. anthea white says:

    I am now feeding maggie with mince and cooked egg and she is adapting to me dropping the food and catching it with her bottom beak and quickly swallowing it. If some falls onto the ground she is learning to flick the food up with various degrees of success.
    But of course I do not know if she is able to catch her own insects?
    My one concern about seeking professional help is that they would put her down. As far as I can tell she is doing ok. But if I were to go away for a few weeks I can not be sure how she would cope. I am hoping that she will learn to adapt before this happens. I think my calculations regarding her age were incorrect and she is more likely to be a year old.

  463. B Atkinson says:

    Anthea- Good on you for feeding the magpie.Please try and get some Wombaroo insectivore mix as this has all the vitamins and minerals plus calcium which is essential for bone growth. You could catch some live insects and put them near her to see what she does.Magpies love Praying Mantis,crickets and any sort of bugs. That is great that she is flicking the food up as she will learn a technique that works eventually.Keep doing the good work.Mealworms aren’t ideal as they contain too much fat but you could give only a few to see if she can pick them up.I fully understand your reluctance re going to a vet.The magpie does need to learn to catch her own insects to be able to survive in the wild.Thank you for caring.

  464. nada says:

    hi all,
    I m taking care of a baby magpie who cannot fly yet and mother is around, but I rescued it from a cat, im feeding it cat food, and chicken, but went to the shop to get food for it as I read it needs a high protein food, they gave me kangaroo meat?? is it ok for him to eat it pls, help what is the best thing to eat and when I can release him when he will be able to fly…

  465. B Atkinson says:

    Hi Nada,
    Please read my post of 17th April 2013. Magpies need high protein,minerals, vitamins including Calcium which are in the correct proportions in Wombaroo Insectivore Mix.This is added to low fat mince in 50:50 proportion.This is the best diet for magpies and all insectivores.If he has been rescued from a cat, I would give him a course of antibiotics to ensure that he doesn’t have an infection.Even if you can’t see any wounds, cats claws and teeth are lethal. He needs to be kept safe away from predators until he has all flight feathers and then he could be released into the wild once able to self-feed and fly properly. The self-feeding process is gradual- You slowly reduce his feeds,while leaving food in a dish.He will eventually become hungry and learn to pick up the food with his beak.I hope this helps.Thank you for caring.I love Magpies and have had several rescue magpies.
    I run a Bird Rescue Centre.

  466. Beth says:

    Hi all my name is beth and a magpie baby not long out the nest has come into my care.
    was on my daughters school oval had kids “helping” all day before i knew about it and some one got it with a footy.
    overalit seems okay no injuries but it tries to call for mum and dad and i currently need open it beak forit to take food.
    any suggestions?
    ive got all the right food for it and a hot box(box wit heat source) the problem i have is thati have a 4 week lorikeet im picking in 2 weeks i know to keep them seperate but im still concerned how ill go!
    fauna resuce said i need it in care for 6 month then have it socalized with others before release so it wont be killed
    any one got any ideas to put my mind at ease.

  467. BAtkinson says:

    Hi Beth, Re Baby Magpie- Yes,the lorikeet and magpie need to be kept totally separate.The baby magpie needs to be inside and warm.- Young birds cannot self thermo-regulate until they have all their feathers.Please read previous posts on food, nutrition and fequency of feeding.The magpie should open his beak automatically when food is presented. After about 6 weeks, of regular feeding,a feed can be skipped and food should be made available with a very shallow dish of water, so that the magpie will become a little desperate and flick the mince/insectivore around-He will eventually get the hang of getting it into his mouth.Please read other posts regarding how to introduce magpies to scratch around and learn to catch their own insects.-They do this instinctively. I hope this helps.

  468. Rob says:

    Our Magpie family had some babies last Saturday 5th October – but by about Wednesday they were dead. All I can put it down to is that we had 2/3 days of very hot weather – 35 degrees – so given that the nest is high in the tree – and exposed to the elements – can I assume that the heat killed them?

    • Trevor says:

      Yes Rob – quite likely. If the weather at your place has been like ours here in SA the variability of temperatures has been extreme. We’ve gone from near frost – around 4C through to over 35C in a few hours – or the reverse. Add to that the violent and often very hot winds and the poor little hatchlings don’t really have a chance. They probably dehydrated in a matter of minutes. Sad.

  469. Steve says:

    So, I have just become a stepdad to a baby magpie, after saving it from being eaten by a dog which thankfully only noticed the magpie when I did, I was’nt keen on touching it as I know it will not integrate with it’s own afterwards however I could not leave it there….. Any way I have decided to keep it and realise these birds are potentially a 20 year proposition, anyway great blog, my question relates to feeding frequency, this bird always seems hungry, I feed it a mixture of fresh mince, weet bix and mushed peas and corn which it enthusiastically eats, I drop water in its mouth with an eye dropper and everything seems fine, are they happy being fed 3 times a day? I have been reading all the old posts and was happy to see that there is one from yesterday…… I also notice Matt and Trevor are from Sa also, I am from the Riverland……. Anyway would appreciate some input… Thanks in advance.

  470. BAtkinson says:

    Hi Steve,

    Please read previous posts on nutrition re 50:50 good quality mince and Wombaroo Insectivore Rearing mix.The latter is vital to provide all the vitamins,minerals and necessary nutrients for all insectivores including magpies.If the mixture is moist they don’t require water (you could mistakenly put water into the breathing hole which goes to the lungs-This could have fatal consequences. I would feed every 2 hours dawn til dusk-Parents feed on demand.As he gets older you can slowly reduce the feeds while providing the mince/insectivore mixture in a shallow dish.He will eventually get the hang of tossing it into his beak.Once feathered,he needs to be able to catch his own insects in the garden-this comes naturally.Tape his flight wings with micropore ( this is a slightly sticky paper tape obtainable from vets-it will not damage his wings and is easily removable),so that he can’t fly off-He needs to be fully self-feeding before being released into the wild.
    Other Magpies may eventually visit and once mature,he may decide to join them
    I hope that this helps.


  471. BAtkinson says:

    I forgot to mention that you roll the insectivore/mince mixture into an elongated pellet- approximately 2cms x 1cm and pop this into the baby magpie’s mouth-He will take at least 2 of these per feed.
    I have reared several baby magpies and they are delightful.Please don’t clip his wings, as they are then prone to cat/dog attacks and can’t escape.Micropore tape on flight feathers works well-Please supervise him, if you use this to ensure his safety.


  472. Trevor says:

    ​UPDATE October 25th 2013

    Sadly I have had to close comments on this article, the most popular article I have ever written. It has had 488 comments, hundreds more than any other post on this site.

    Today I received another 10 comments from someone called LEE who attempted to post some aggressive and crudely worded comments in an attempt to correct what others had written. Such language will not be approved here, nor will very long comments all in capital letters (ie shouting). Please take your inappropriate comments elsewhere – or start your own website.

  473. Trevor says:

    UPDATE September 24th 2015: I have decided to reopen comments on this post again. Please keep comments civil. I reserve the right to delete any comments.

    Owner of Trevor’s Birding

  474. Linda says:

    Hi Trevor. I have a family of magpies including 3 young, which have been coming into my yard for quite some time. They eat whatever scraps we throw. One young, who I called Schnappy has a broken bottom beak. It is only half the size it should be. He/she manages to pick food up by tilting head on side, but is a lot slower than the others. He/She is very friendly and has been staying around the house almost all day, while the others go off & forage. I am concerned, because all 3 young haven’t shown up for about 10 days. Both parents are still arriving, but just wondering what may have happened to the young ones? Is it possible for them to be nesting now? They seemed so young still, as their colour is mottled grey.

  475. fran o'dwyer says:

    hi there ..just wondering if you can help me …i have been living at my address for well ovEr 20 years and today after i was feeding a magpie ….i noticed a baby chick about 20 mins later on the step……..still warm but very much dead…..the maggies do not nest in the tree above…it’s very dead also and nothing nest there …they nest in the bush park across the road ( i live in the hills of perth) is it possible that the mggie brought the chick to me??????????

  476. fran o'dwyer says:

    ps no cats or other animals around


    • Trevor says:

      Hi Fran,

      Thanks for your question. It is quite likely that another bird species has taken the chick out of the nest and was on the way to feed its own chicks. I could make a long list of possible species, including crows (or ravens), kookaburras, currawongs, butcherbirds, smaller hawks, and even another magpie.

      Such an event can be distressing for those of us who love birds and animals, but this is the reality in nature. Small birds, including chicks, are often taken to feed the chicks of larger birds.

  477. Outbackjack says:

    I just rescued a fledgling magpie which had an injured foot and in the middle of the road. I took it to a home nearby where they are nesting and we sat it in the shade for a few hours after giving it some water. The parents did not turn up. I now have it at home and am feeding it. It is 80% feathers but still has some fluffy down on the head and chest. I have fed a tawny mouth before so feel slightly confident that we can keep this one going but time will tell. A pity it is the weekend as I can’t get to a vet the nearest is 40 km away for some insectivore supplement but am feeding minced chicken necks mixed with breadcrumbs and rice cereal. I am now eyeing off all of the excess blowies we have hear as well. nice photos by the way.

  478. john starks says:

    Can someone help me out here?

    A pair of magpies have been turning up to my house for years and we feed them as well as the babies when they bring them. This year they were raising 2 which would come to our house but sadly one died on the road. The parents and the other baby still come but the mother still collects a lot of food to take with her when she comes but never feeds the baby. Only the father does. Is it possible that they can breed again so soon after ?

    • Outbackjack says:

      Our magpies have had in times past a second breeding but not often.

      • Trevor says:

        Our magpies often have two broods but rarely three, though if conditions are right some magpies might.

        • john starks says:

          I have seen the nest now and it’s about 2 months since the baby hatched and now the parents have more babies in the nest. How is this possible?

          • Trevor says:

            This is very common in our Australian birds. They breed several times a season to ensure their survival. The attrition rate of our birds is quite high and many baby magpies die in their first few months due to birds of prey (eagles, hawks etc) and road kill. As a result the parents have several broods in an attempt to make sure some reach maturity.

  479. Denise Brown says:

    Dear Trevor, I have a family of magpies that have visited for something like 6 years. They rid themselves of their young every year about 29th July
    and sit again. I have never seen any of the young return even though they were well handled. Last sit we lost one baby to a storm and the surviving one has a terrible case of the pox. Bubby has spent a lot of time here with us have tried to help with betadine for feet without success. I was told by wires that they don’t recover from this. But I can tell you this baby is now looking good the eye has healed and the feet are loosing the lumps that were once quite large and bleeding so can it be cured.
    Thanks DB

  480. patricia lightfoot says:

    Last season a baby female I called Dolly, but this year I think she’s gone or matured. One baby has come down, but he has a lump on one of his claws. He comes sometimes with a male, but females chase him or her, her I think. Comes into the house. Not as tame as Dolly, but I feel sorry for her or him. The lump on his claw seems to be growing, I don’t know what it is. reddish brown. Might be a tick. We’re in Australia. Armidale Northern Tablelands.

  481. Dave says:

    Hello there, Just a question because I have a family of magpies 3 males, 2 females and 3 babies(guessing about 1 year old. They always would fly in every day to my yard and bumble around. They are so cute then I noticed that one baby was cowering when the males flew in, which it never did before, then I noticed the males swooping and attacking it, now it seems to have gone as I have not seen it for days. I also noticed at the same time the male start swooping another baby and now it has become vicious by attacking it also. Is this normal behaviour from the males as I assume it is their own babies they are attacking. The babies are always cowering and whimpering when they were fine before. Its breaking my heart to hear that awful noise when they are attacked and also to witness it. Do yo know what is going on?

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Dave,

      Sorry about the delay in replying. Australian Magpies are highly territorial at around the middle of the year they start defending their territories quite aggressively in preparation for the new breeding season. The young ones should have left their parents’ territory by now and established their own patch. Just like human teenagers who hang around home well into their 20s, so it is with the almost mature magpie “babies”. It is the dominant males chasing them away to set up their own territory elsewhere. Hopefully, they will sort out things in time, and the “babies” will set up their own territory elsewhere.

  482. Linda says:

    Hello. We have been feeding a group of Magpies for about 10 years. This year we have noticed that they are attacking one of the juveniles probably about 18 months old. I think they are wanting her to leave the group but she does not want to go. She hides behind pot plants but they chase her away but she comes back. Why do they do this to her.

  483. Lisa D says:

    Hi. I used to have a family of four magpies here, two adults, and two juveniles who fledged late last year. They were very social, sang on my front doorstep every morning, and foraged around my yard most of the day. Sadly, the two adults disappeared in one week, though the male did turn up, all bloodied and dishevelled just before I stopped seeing them. One of the young birds was unwell so I contacted a carer and she took it away. The other juvenile seemed fine and was difficult to catch, so we left it here. Since then I have seen it every day, and I have been feeding it bits of meat or mealy worms. It caught the eye of four males nearby, however, and they would chase it away. I haven’t seen the baby bird, as I call it, now for three days. It is around 8 months old and has been able to fend off the males quite well. I am concerned they finally managed to catch it though. Do young birds just suddenly stop coming, having found a new group to hang with, or has something more sinister probably happened…?

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Lisa, Australian Magpies are highly territorial and they will vigorously defend their patch of the environment. These magpie “wars” are noisy affairs with plenty of calling, chasing and attacks on any outside birds. My 5-acre property is the centre of three territories and as breeding time approaches there is much activity defending each one.
      Juveniles like your magpie often form “bachelor” groups, sometimes numbering in the dozens, who leave their home territory where they were hatched. They often remain in these groups until they find a mate and establish their own territory.

      • Lisa D says:

        So, you are saying it is highly likely my baby birds has found a bachelor group? There is a cluster of 10 or 12 birds a couple of blocks from here, so maybe he has gone to join them. I hope so…Thanks.

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