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Is there a magpie plague?
Magpies were hunted so intensely at the beginning of the last century that their extinction had to be expected around 1910. In the south of Switzerland, the magpie was extinct in 1915, she has not returned to this area until today.
In Germany began in 1950, the urbanization of the Elster, the stock in the country went back. Today, the Elster is not considered endangered due to its estimated total population, but is on the red list of protected species in some states, and the global population is also on the decline.
The fact that the impression of massive overpopulation quickly arises among laymen is, on the one hand, due to the habit of magpies (and other ravens) forming associations. In addition, magpie populations can recover very quickly after intense decimation, which quickly gives the impression of excessive reproduction. Incidentally, the numbers that indicate the stock in Germany fluctuate greatly, the estimates of hunters are on average 2.5 times as high as the estimate of nature conservation associations.
Do magpies really cause damage?
The magpies are first said by hunters that they would harm the huntable bird species, but this is rejected by experts: The prey spectrum of the magpies are mainly small birds, they also live in a different habitat than these species of birds. It is true that magpies are predators and can also capture small birds. However, if garden owners feel that the magpies have practically extirpated other birds in the garden, this impression is usually wrong. Most of the time it is about unprofessional observations that include a single garden or a single year.
Ornithologists do not count the disappearance of small birds on the magpies, which usually have no influence on small-bird populations. Most of the decline goes back to an action of man himself, this can be the clearing of a hedge or the transformation of a colorful meadow into a monocultural lawn. Frequently, other Nester robbers such as cats or squirrels are to blame. Whoever it was - nature is prepared for Nestraub, our songbirds perform up to five spare broods a year.
Often it is also not considered that magpies as scavengers are a natural health police and also eat other small pests, making them important for the ecological balance. If you still can not live well with the magpies, it will be difficult:
Magpies are under legal protection
According to the EC Birds Directive, the Magpie, like all other wild birds that are native to us, is protected in principle, namely the bird itself, the eggs, nests and habitats. The Federal Nature Conservation Act has taken over this protection. There are exceptions, but only for hunters.
After that, you must not misappropriate magpies nor catch, injure or kill them. They must not remove their form of development from nature, damage or destroy. Or remove, damage or destroy their reproductive or resting places from nature. Not only the magpie herself is taboo, but also her nests, eggs and the juveniles.
So you can not kill the magpies, if you think there are too many in your garden, nor rob the magpie nests. By the way, the legal text goes on: During reproduction, rearing, moulting, hibernation and migration you may Magpies do not even bother so much that the amount is reduced by the disturbance. In German, you have to leave her alone.
Prevent magpie plague
However, you can prevent the magpie population in your garden from increasing by covering or converting food sources such as compost. You can provide the small birds nesting boxes with Einfluglöchern available that are tailored to the particular species, the magpie then has no access.