Human-wildlife conflict – Crows and magpies

Crows and magpies are important to Alberta's ecosystem, but they may be a nuisance on your property.

About crows and magpies

  • Magpies and crows will eat anything. They perform a service to people by consuming large numbers of insects and by feeding on carrion.
  • In winter, magpies do not normally migrate. Their presence tends to be more obvious in the spring and summer when the young are noisy and when we spend more time outdoors. Crows migrate in the fall.
  • In the spring months the birds can be heard more frequently. The noise they make is often hungry young calling for food from their parents.
  • Both crows and magpies are resourceful and learn quickly. They are able to mimic the calls of other birds.

How crows and magpies can be a nuisance to humans

  • Magpies and crows can damage landscaping in your backyard, including fruit trees, flowering bulbs and bird feeders.
  • Magpies and crows can be loud and have been known to harass pets.
  • As protective parents, crows and magpies may dive-bomb intruders they fear are approaching too close to their nests. This is more likely to happen in the spring months. To avoid being dive-bombed, stay away from the nesting area and keep children and pets from getting too close until the birds have flown away.

What to do about the crows and magpies on your property

  • If you want the birds to permanently leave your property you will need to remove the source of food or shelter that they are finding there. Removing individual crows or magpies from your property will only leave a vacancy for another one to fill.
  • Most likely the birds are in your yard because they are able to find food there. Keep garbage in a secure container with a lid, ensure your compost is covered, feed your pets indoors and store the pet food inside.
  • If you would like the crows or magpies to move on, remove their nests before young are hatched. The birds will often settle in a different area.
  • You may trim out the trees until the cover they provide is too thin for the crow or magpie to roost in comfortably.
  • Frightening devices, such as scarecrows, eye-balloons and hawk kites, can be effective for a short time. To make them more effective, they will need to be moved frequently.


Information on building a magpie trap: An improved magpie trap

Download in-depth information about magpie control from The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, published by the University of Nebraska, see:


Your municipality or municipal district is authorized to help with crow and magpie concerns. Local pest control companies may also be able to provide advice or service.

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