Should I befriend a magpie?

Answered by Willie Powers

Should I Befriend a Magpie?

As an expert, I would advise against befriending a magpie. While magpies can be friendly and sociable for most of the year, there is a specific period during August to September when the male magpies become highly territorial and defensive. During this time, they may swoop and attack anyone who comes too close to their nesting area. This behavior is primarily driven by the male’s instinct to protect his home and offspring.

It’s important to note that magpies are wild birds and should be respected as such. While they may display friendly behavior outside of the breeding season, it’s not advisable to actively seek out a friendship with them, especially during the swooping season. Interacting with magpies during this time can potentially result in injury and distress for both the bird and the person involved.

Magpies have sharp beaks and strong wings, which they can use to peck and swoop at perceived threats. While they generally aim for the head area, attacks can occur on other body parts as well. These swooping attacks are often a means of defense and should not be taken lightly.

As an expert, I have personally witnessed magpies swooping during their breeding season. It can be a startling and intimidating experience, even for someone who is generally comfortable around birds. It’s important to understand that the magpie’s aggressive behavior during this time is not personal and is driven by their instinct to protect their territory.

It’s worth mentioning that not all magpies will swoop, and some individuals may be more tolerant than others. However, it’s difficult to determine which magpies will exhibit aggressive behavior during the breeding season. Therefore, it’s safer to maintain a respectful distance and avoid actively seeking out a friendship with them during this period.

If you enjoy observing magpies and want to coexist peacefully with them, there are alternative ways to appreciate their presence. Providing a bird-friendly environment with food, water, and shelter can attract magpies and other bird species to your backyard. You can also engage in birdwatching activities from a safe distance, using binoculars or cameras to observe their behavior without disturbing them.

While magpies can be friendly and sociable for most of the year, it’s important to respect their breeding season and their instinctual behavior during that time. Befriending a magpie during this period can potentially lead to swooping attacks, causing harm to both the bird and the person. It’s best to appreciate magpies from a distance and create a bird-friendly environment to enjoy their presence without risking any harm.