Why control Magpies?
Magpies are devastating to the song bird population.
They will raid other smaller birds’ nests for the eggs or hatchlings. Magpies cause severe damage to livestock producers’ animals. They will pick out the eyes of newborn calves, lambs, colts, etc., as well as pick at sores on livestock, often causing severe suffering and damage. The harsh magpie call is rather hard to listen to, especially at daybreak. This can be at 4:30am in the northern latitudes. It is much more pleasant to hear song birds than the incessant magpie cackle.
Successful Magpie Trapping
Although magpies are very intelligent and wary, the Larsen trap will capture them with amazing success.
- Trap Placement
Place the trap in an area where magpies frequent. Pick a spot where they will not feel threatened, especially by cats, if you have any.
- Trap Baiting
One of the most effective and easily attainable types of bait is “canned” or “wet” dog or cat food. Place some in small containers (plastic lids from yogurt or cottage cheese work great), around the trap, and one in each of the trap sections. It may take the birds a day or two to get used to the trap. Just keep replenishing the food supply outside the trap, and replace the food inside the trap, if required, to keep it looking fresh and inviting. Magpies are very opportunistic and love “easy pickings” for their meals. Once they know where they can enjoy free food, they will frequent the trap on a regular basis.
- Setting the Trap
The trap trigger is based on the use of a split perch. Set the perches in place to hold the spring-loaded trap doors open. In cooler climates, check the perches after freezing rain or snow, as this can freeze the split perch together, and then the trap will not work until you correct this.
- Using Your Trap
This magpie trap works with or without a “call bird” as you can see in the video. However, it does work significantly better with a “call bird”. Once you have captured your first bird, simply move it into the center section. (Wear gloves and long sleeves, as magpies will bite.) You will have to provide fresh food and water for you new pet, every morning and evening. If you look after your “call bird”, it can last indefinitely. Also, magpies are very territorial! If you capture a bird and take the trap to a location several miles away, the trap becomes even more effective, as the local magpie population will literally “storm” the intruder bird. If you and your neighbor both have traps, simply exchange birds. Both traps will work even better. To summarize: the trap works without a call bird, (see video), works better with a “call bird”, and works best with a “foreigner call bird”.
- Handling Your Captured Birds
Once you have captured a bird or two, what do you do with them? One option is to “catch and release in the next county”. If you insist on destroying them, do so away from the trap. If you do so at the trap where other magpies observe this, the trap will not work as well for quite some time.
- Check Laws Concerning Magpies
It is your responsibility to check all local, provincial, state or federal laws concerning trapping and keeping live magpies in captivity.