Build a better magpie trap
It seems strange that one of the most clever and most beautiful members of the bird family Corvidae, the magpie, could also be a serious pest. Other members of the Corvidae bird family include jays, crows and ravens.
Magpies play an important role as scavengers and consumers of insects. Unfortunately, the magpies’ carnivorous habit presents a problem when it preys on beneficial wildlife, inflicts injury on young livestock and spreads livestock disease.
Under these circumstance, there may be a need for some type of control. However, the beneficial aspects of the magpie must be considered when control programs are designed and employed.
Sparrows damage crops and gardens by pecking seeds, seedlings, buds, flowers, vegetables and maturing fruits. They consume and spoil livestock food and water, and contaminate or deface buildings, facilities and livestock with their nests and droppings. They can also transmit many diseases and parasites of livestock, pets and humans.
In Alberta, starlings can be a nuisance to livestock producers because they:
- consume and contaminate livestock feed and water
- whitewash” buildings, facilities and animals with their droppings.
In winter, flocks of up to 2,000 birds can consume 1 to 2 tonnes of feed in a month and can contaminate or spoil an additional 500 to 1,000 kg of feed. Worse still, starlings may selectively eat the high-protein portion of protein-supplemented livestock feed.
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