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8778Re: [Saskbirds] Re: Magpies

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  • Brenda Schmidt
    Mar 1, 2006
      Corvids are a big part of the urban scene in Flin Flon and Creighton.
      Gangs of ravens line the Walmart roof in Flin Flon while magpies hang on
      the fringe. Ravens tear into groceries left unattended in the back of
      trucks. They scarf down offerings of fries and burgers left behind by
      McDonalds customers. I often wonder how the diet is affecting their
      overall health.

      Brenda Schmidt
      Creighton, SK

      trevor.herriot@... wrote:

      >Bill--not sure but it would seem that a smart bird like the magpie has
      >figured out that our urban areas are good places to make a living. Crows of
      >course have been here for a longer time but may be increasing. I have not
      >seen numbers to indicate an increase in urban crows. Regardless, their
      >numbers might increase simply because food is plentiful (garbage and small
      >animals) and many of the normal ecological limitations on their population
      >are reduced in an urban environment--predation, in particular. Pesticide
      >levels may be lower in prairie cities than in the countryside, so that may
      >have a role to play as well but it would be difficult to prove. Also,
      >corvids may find the micro-climate in cities favourable for overwintering.
      >
      >With ravens now all around the cities I think we can reasonably expect that
      >species to move into urban areas as well. There are already some sightings
      >of ravens within Regina, and I imagine the same is true for Saskatoon. If
      >they do, the crows and magpies may find they have to make room for the
      >larger corvid.
      >
      >Trevor H
      >
      >
      >
      > William Davenport
      > <wdavenport@saskt
      > el.net> To
      > Sent by: Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com
      > Saskbirds@yahoogr cc
      > oups.com
      > Subject
      > Re: [Saskbirds] Re: Magpies
      > 03/01/2006 11:20
      > AM
      >
      >
      > Please respond to
      > Saskbirds@yahoogr
      > oups.com
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Trevor, what is your impression about the more recent trends of crows and
      >magpies moving into the larger cities in ever increasing numbers?
      >Bill
      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: <trevor.herriot@...>
      >To: <Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: March 1, 2006 11:04 AM
      >Subject: Re: [Saskbirds] Re: Magpies
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >>Great post, Dan. Even a black and white bird can't be seen in black and
      >>white terms, which is the case for almost all creatures that have been
      >>given a boost by human enterprise.
      >>
      >>It is important to remember that, although the Magpie is native to the
      >>continent, records indicate that it was absent or at least very rare
      >>
      >>
      >across
      >
      >
      >>most of the Northern Great Plains until some time during the first half
      >>
      >>
      >of
      >
      >
      >>the 20th century. (There is a fine article Stuart Houston wrote about the
      >>advance of the magpie in a back issue of the Blue Jay.) None of this,
      >>however, justifies "magpie control measures" in general. And, it goes
      >>without saying, that killing them and displaying the corpses in trees is
      >>
      >>
      >an
      >
      >
      >>ugly and hostile act.
      >>
      >>Yet, there will be situations where it will be tempting to try to reduce
      >>their numbers--say in an area where shrikes are nesting? Cowbird control
      >>has become essential for the preservation of Kirtland's Warbler, but it
      >>requires a constant effort. Even so, that is the kind of "ends justifies
      >>the means" solution that it is usually best to avoid if at all possible.
      >>
      >>We have created the niche for magpies--prairie towns and farm yards.
      >>Magpies will be here as long as that niche is available.
      >>
      >>Trevor H
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> "Dan"
      >> <danzaz@sasktel.n
      >> et>
      >>
      >>
      >To
      >
      >
      >> Sent by: Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com
      >> Saskbirds@yahoogr
      >>
      >>
      >cc
      >
      >
      >> oups.com
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >Subject
      >
      >
      >> [Saskbirds] Re: Magpies
      >> 02/28/2006 11:16
      >> PM
      >>
      >>
      >> Please respond to
      >> Saskbirds@yahoogr
      >> oups.com
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>--- In Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com, Jared Clarke <clarkejared16@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>
      >>>Steve,
      >>> I think it is some horrible person. I was at this same area two
      >>>
      >>>
      >>years ago during the summer and found 6 - 7 Magpie's dead, tied in a
      >>bunch hanging from a tree branch.
      >>
      >>
      >>> One of the things I am learning in my ecology class right now is
      >>>
      >>>
      >>the importance of decomposers in an ecosystem. While magpie's will
      >>eat eggs and young of other birds, their role as a scavenger is a very
      >>important one. They are a valuable part of the environment.
      >>
      >>
      >>> Jared
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >> On the one hand, I admire any birds that share winter with us – that
      >>includes Black-billed Magpies and House Sparrows. I find magpies and
      >>their foraging strategies interesting, especially in winter. I try to
      >>band some magpies every year, partly because I can't believe that they
      >>are so short-lived compared to jays, crows, and ravens. I hope some
      >>day to have a recovery on a bird older than five years, the current
      >>longevity record for a wild magpie.
      >> I've learned a couple of things in the last few years.
      >> The magpies in our yard are homebodies- I see my banded birds on a
      >>regular basis.
      >> All magpies aren't fiendishly intelligent. Last winter, after I
      >>caught the same magpie five times in a row, I took it with me on my
      >>way to Kyle and let it go seven miles west of our yard. Upon release,
      >>the magpie headed west only until it got its bearings, then it did a
      >>180 and headed directly back towards our place. It might have beat me
      >>home, as I caught it again the next morning. When I caught it a
      >>seventh time a week later, I released it in the Coteau Hills, south of
      >>Elrose, maybe 25 miles from home. Again, once oriented, it headed
      >>directly back to our farm.
      >> Just this week I retrapped an adult magpie that I'd first banded as
      >>an adult in February 2005. It seems to be doing quite well. The
      >>banding computer program, Band Manager, asked me again if I was sure
      >>about the weight and wing chord, as they were above normal limits for
      >>the species.
      >> Also, I'm seeing lots of magpies as I look for Snowy Owls; the "B/W
      >>Pheasants" here seem to have recovered from the devastation of West
      >>Nile in 2004. They show a resilience that is admirable.
      >> On the other hand, I've watched magpies clean out a hedgerow of
      >>nestling passerines – I think they may be the biggest single threat to
      >>nestling Loggerhead Shrikes. And, in 2005, we had two cases of
      >>magpies attacking "brancher" Great Horned Owl chicks. In the first
      >>incident, my friend watched from his house as a magpie hammered on an
      >>owlet while the adult owl tried in vain to chase away the more nimble
      >>corvid. Each time the adult owl rushed the magpie, it slipped to the
      >>other side of the chick and continued to attack the bloodied owlet
      >>(When my friend was able to shoot the magpie, the magpie got hung up
      >>on a branch. Within seconds, the adult owl seized the dead magpie,
      >>carried it out into a field and ate it). In the second incident, at a
      >>different location, I picked up an owlet under its nest tree where it
      >>sat in shock with the same puncture wounds in its head as the first
      >>owlet had. This second owlet died soon after.
      >> Anyway, we're now wondering how many times in the past what we
      >>thought was GHOW fratricide was actually execution by magpie.
      >> So - magpies – admirable but just a little nasty.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>>Dan Zazelenchuk
      >>>
      >>>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
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      >>
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