Young Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

I have been a little puzzled about our resident pair of Australian Magpies this spring. Although they showed signs of building a nest earlier in the spring they seemed to abandon the idea after a few days. I had observed them refurbishing the nest they have used for the last four or five years.  Instead of continuing the nest building and then sitting on the eggs and finally being busy feeding the young in the nest, they seemed content to just occupy themselves searching for food during the day, visiting the bird bath (as in the photo above) or chasing away the White-winged Choughs whenever they came into the garden.

I thought they’d given up on breeding this season.

It seems I was wrong. Earlier this week I was passing the garage when I saw a young magpie fresh out of the nest, all downy and begging for food.

This is perplexing. I still haven’t found any nest. There are two possible explanations:

  1. They made a new nest in a location I haven’t yet discovered. This is entirely possible as it would take quite a while to check every tree on our five acre block.
  2. The young bird I saw was from a neighbouring magpie territory and it had wandered into our garden.

It does not matter. It is good to see that at least one magpie was hatched in this locality this year.

Good birding.


5 Responses to “Young Australian Magpie”

  1. Liberty1998 says:

    Baby Magpies are beautiful! I have a mum and dad in my front yard with their two babies; they come twice a day for food. In my back yard there’s a threesome; two females and one male and together they have three babies. Both sets of parents, front and back yard seem to be good and attentive which is great. I understand that the parents will chase them away at around the ten month mark because I see it every year. This is where I have a question….
    My mother has a pair in her front yard. Last year the first clutch of three all died and they bred for a second time in November. Baby was fine and around the nine month mark the father started attacking the baby and eventually chased her away… very sad because my mum was really attached.

    About a month later they had a new baby which has been out the nest for around six weeks and they are barely feeding it. They’ve now decided to have a second clutch (still in nest) which is taking up all their time and poor baby is left to fend for itself. My mum has been feeding the baby but it has had little training on “how” to eat and other birds come along and steal the food. It just seems like the parents have abandoned it. Does anyone know why this happens? OR are they just bad parents?

    I’ve read the Gisela Kaplan book which is a fantastic read but doesn’t give a whole lot of detail on why the parent Magpies act like they do.

    Any comments appreciated.


    • Benny says:

      Hello ive been feeding a pair of Magpies for over a year now, they had a baby its father used to treat it badly at times it would kind of stab at it with his beak,
      The baby is gone now around 3 weeks ago it would of been about 1 year old,
      Im guessing its parents chased it away, do you have any idea on how they do this and do they ever return to where they were born to see it’s parents that i feed.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for visiting and leaving some comments. Sorry about the delay in replying.

    I’m not sure what is happening with the magpies you are watching. There are several possibilities:
    1. The adults could indeed be poor parents – it happens.
    2. The adults could be inexperienced at breeding – some take several broods to learn the ropes.
    3. The breeding drive is very powerful and they may be keener on raising a new brood than looking after the previous brood.
    4. The abandoned juvenile is possibly diseased in some way so they are rejecting it, knowing it is destined to die soon. (Sounds cruel in human terms but it would be better expending the energy on a new brood).

    Is it worth keeping it in an aviary or large cage to prevent its food being taken? Or even inside until it is ready to be fully independent?

  3. Gayle says:

    This is in reply to Benny. You ask how they chase the young away. My answer is one word: Aggressively. I am sitting here quite depressed and decided to come looking for someone to talk to. For about 6 years I have been feeding a pair of magpies (mainly the Dad because for most of those years Mum was a little wary). I knew I should not be feeding them but the reason I started is too long a story to tell here. Up until this year, everything went as it should: the babies would be kicked out of home by the aggressive old man, and they would move on. I hated it, but that’s nature.
    However, this year, one of the two kids was an absolute mimic of the old man from the very outset. Every move Dad made, Bub copied; where Dad was, so was Bub. Unfortunately, this meant that he/she (still quite grey) learned to eat the food I was tossing to them. Oh, he/she did learn to fossick too; I fed them only once a day. But when it came time to be kicked out of home, he/she is just not prepared. It’s not just the food, it seems to be the company. He/she is sits in the White Cedar just outside, and sings to me all day. I know it’s not just food because he/she eats a couple of pieces then takes the next up into the tree.
    But when Dad sees, he rushes in to attack. Just as he did right now. I have just come back in from yelling at him. He attacks the young one in the air and they both roll and tumble to the ground. When I yell, he stops; but perhaps I should not be interfering. I just wish I could somehow show the young one there are other paddocks, to somehow help it move on.
    I really think it might be best if I stop feeding all of them. So depressing. They are my life, and my best company. Poor Bub. But that’s nature.

    • poppy says:

      hi gayle. thanks for your comment. i’m going through the same thing right now, and i’m in tears. I knew it was going to happen, because it happened last year too, but it is just so hard. our one year old magpie, Louis is very similar to yours, just not ready. I don’t understand, because I see other magpies who seem to let older siblings stay.
      i’d love to know what happened to your young magpie.
      i’m so sad for this little guy. I know he’ll be okay, but it is SO hard.

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