Tame Magpie

Look! It’s the tame magpie. He’s famous on our allotment, everyone is talking about how he likes to land on your shoulders while you dig. I didn’t believe he existed until he came to visit while I was digging up the last of the potatoes a few days ago. He landed on the wheelbarrow first to check me out then hopped over to see what I was digging. He was right underneath me and busied himself with eating the woodlice that had been unearthed while I was digging. And he wouldn’t leave – I had to literally nudge him with my fork so that I could carry on digging. He didn’t like that and so hopped into the basket of plenty and pecked my courgettes a few times – just to annoy me. He’s sweet though, magpies are very colourful close up – his feathers are bright blue, black and green – with a shimmer on them like oil on water. You can see the green manure has gone a bit mental in the background.

17 Comments on “Tame Magpie

  1. Gorgeous photo! I have to admit to a certain fondness for magpies, despite their godawful squawking and clumsy thumping about. We have a young ‘un in our back garden now (well, not right, now unless it’s wearing nightvision goggles like some sort of avian ninja or be-winged stalker) that seems to be a few twigs short of a nest. It’s undeniably loveable, but in a ‘Of Mice and Men’ kind of way. If I manage to get a film of it, I’ll post it for all to see.

  2. You don’t live in or near Colchester do you, as I think your Magpie has taken up residence in our garden. It keeps landing and walking aound as if he (or she) owned the place. So much so that today it came in the bedroom window and when ushered out just came back in via the conservatory. It is very intelligent but seems very lonely. Does anyone know why it should be visiting. Has it lost its partner?
    Have to say I am a bit concerned with the kids in the house that someone will get hurt.

  3. Hey thanks for popping by to mtp – nice site David. Have you just started blogging? It’s very rewarding being able to look back at what you’ve achieved.
    I miss ‘Tame Magpie’ – we’re away on holiday at the moment so he has no-one to dig up woodlice for him. He’s probably moved to Colchester in my absence :)

  4. Cheers Gillian. Yup, my first blog (if you don’t count a two-post experiment a couple of years ago on some blogging community or other… I was young and easily led by a mucky Welshman of my acquaintance). It’s anyone’s guess how long I keep it up, but I’ll do my best :)

    Have a good holiday and think of poor old me & Clare from Pumpkin Soup – no holiday’s for our weary bones :(

  5. In ca, we have the Yellow-Billed magpies, and they were always clowns. In the victorian days, they were kept as pets. they are smart, being in the Jay and Crow family and can learn to mimic words. I miss them, havent seen any around here.

  6. I met a tame magpie today! He jumped onto my car window at Mcdonalds and waited for some of my food. I obliged and stroked him gave him some food and he went off. He then tried it with the next car who wasnt so obliging so he pecked his wheel trims:)
    my car broke down then and the magpie was very interested in the man fixing it, giving lots of help under the bonnet and jumping on his back overseeing the project. He then went over the road to devour a decaying tree of woodlice.

  7. Ive taken in a fledgling magpie as my cats seemed to have ‘adopted’ him or her,which didnt go down too well with his or her parents to say the least,he/she is now comfy and safe in my slightly opened bedroom drawer,what do I do with him/her? Ive tried feeding with soggy cornflakes but maggie doesnt seem interested,
    can you keep magpies as pets? Id let him go but we tried that this morning and one of our cats ‘brought’ him home again!!,
    maggies not injured Ive given a thorough check over,feathers are still not grown fully.
    All suggestions welcome
    thanks dianne
    ps sorry about my cats Ive tried bells on collars etc but it hasnt helped with severe cutting down of trees in the park just round the corner from me,theres land adjacent to it and there in process of ripping it down to build houses hence my cats are having great fun :(.
    Id keep them in but thats drastic and cruel

  8. Hi dianne in manchester. I am currently hand raising a magpie that my cat also bought in.

    1stly have you tried your local wildlife rescue? I ask because you are undertaking a huge responsibility by keeping this little one. They are very intellligant and need a lot of stimulation. I have heard of people keeping them as pets but they all seem to get to the three year mark and become troublesome. This seems to be the need to mate.

    If you going to keep her then heres what they eat. Cat and dog food seems to work, so does mince. I also add blended grain, veg and fruits. I try to stick to what is available localy and what I have seen the magpies eating. If she is weak or thin you might want to try A/d feline food, this is available from your vet and is much more easily digested but it is expensive. Depending how young the bird is will depend on the how food is presented. Mine is little so it is blended with water to make a kind of thick soup. I am feeding using a syringe as she has a good feeding response however you can crop feed if bird is too weak. If you have never done this before then please take her to a vet as if you get it wrong you could kill in seconds. Dont forget to remove droppings after feeding and you may need to clean her a bit, a damp cotton tip works for me.
    It is also important to recored their weight daily so that you can keep an eye on their progress.
    Most important of all is your saftey. With all this talk about bird flu hygine is the most important thing that I can stress on you. Please do a google search on bird flu symptoms and if in doubt contact the RSPCA. At all times make sure you wash properly hands and arms and her cage as it isnt just bird flu they carry, its ecoili salmonella etc.

    Basic bird keeping websites are good as well as info on crows and jays. It all helps. There is loads more to tell you but this should get you through.
    hope this has helped and good luck.

  9. hi there if any body needs magpies or crows or any of the corvid family, we run a crow and corvid rescue centre in the west mids. crows are very intelegent creatures and are beautiful. we aleady have 3 resident birds that cant be released due to diformaties. thanks mark

  10. Hi Mark

    I am doing an MSc in Animal Behaviour and am looking for magpies or crows to study for my summer research project. I’d love to talk to you about this. How can I contact you?


  11. Hello,
    Recently, My dog has caught a magpie, a young one by the looks of it, and so we kept him overnight, as he couldn’t fly. The next morning, (Mind you, this happend on Monday January 26) my Dad took him to the Wildlife Rehab centre, The ONLY one in Edmonton D: and we found out his wing was swollen, he’s unstable and has a puncure wound. I have three questions.

    1.) Do you think he’ll survive?

    2.) If he does survive, but his wing happens to be broken, would they put him to sleep?

    3.) Also, if he can’t be released for some reason, Would we be able to keep him? I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


  12. Hi Shantel,
    Wow I think you did the best thing you could by taking him to the wildlife centre. I don’t know anything about Magpies (apart from that they’re cheeky little critters). Maybe someone else here could advise.

  13. hi, does anyone have any advice on what to do with a baby magpie. he was in our garden hopping around and not able to fly, hes about 4 inches in height. his mammy and daddy were up in the tree looking at him for hours. as it was getting dark and cold and theres loads of cats around,we decided to take him in. does anyone have any advice on what to do next. and what to feed him? or will we put him back out again in the morning and keep an eye on him and maybe his parents wll feed him? any replys would be greatly appreciated xxxx

  14. hazel,
    minced maggots, cat food, dog meat, magpies are ok with a broad range, but do not feed with milk as this is harmful.

  15. OUR MAGPIE;MAGS…my daughter rescued a magpie who i took in as a baby fallen out of the nest, my biggest mistake was to tame him! he loved my daughter especially, he would sit on her shoulder & groom her hair puttig any strands that had come out of her ponitail back in place. He gave us hours of pleasure, watching him splash around in his bath (an old casserole dish)& would take great pleasure in stealing our dogs biscuits an hiding them where ever he could poke them. These birds are extremley intelligent ours actually talked.. I was advised to feed him lean mince beef with dry weetabix mixed in, his favourite was a chunk of cucumber (about 3 inches) he would sit at his dish & peck out the insides. Mags is no longer with us he died at the age of 4yrs… sadly just yesterday i rescued another one that had been mauled by a cat, he has survived the night and proceeded to hop out of his box to explore my bedroom this morning, however i have no intention of taming this magnificent bird, his place is in the wild, and that is where he will be released as soon as he has recovered!!!

  16. My story (in south west France), looks much like paula’s : I rescued a first magpie 5 years ago and which stayed for some weeks around the house (in the country) and then left. She nested after that every year in the nearest tree, some metres from the house. At the back or my mind, I hoped for what happened this year, and I rescued one of her sons fallen from the nest. I had been told that males stayed, and it happened. He stayed for seven months and left two days ago. It was quite hard to breed him, as he was free in the house, when not outdoors as he was everyday for some hours. He always came back at least before night, on the window of his room which I left open even if cold (in fact, he finally slept every day on the door of my own bedroom, and always understood when time to sleep there).
    But he liked mostly our company, loved the small pinscher dog which would never hurt him. I was a bit anxious for my parrots which he would seem to attack, but I never saw any hurt. When very young, I treated him for worms, because I found one in stools. I was anxious (as I had been with his mother) that he would transmit a sickness from the wild to my parrots. Once he was wounded at one leg, and I treated him with medics for that, but one needs to be very careful when medicating birds (I am a health professional for humans).
    Even if the house is so much quieter, I hope so much that I will see him again.

  17. I know its been a while since any posts here but my story relates to a pair of Magpies one of which with a bell (like a cat collar bell but louder) which is noisily running around the rooftops in west Cardiff. Why and how would a magpie have aquired leg bells???