Shannon Maguire from the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary told Better Homes and Gardens that there are benefits to having magpies in the garden due to their sweet song, their affection towards people they know and their ability to keep pests like snails away from your favourite roses and flowers.
Like most animal species, magpies are susceptible to some types of diseases however experts say it is unlikely diseases would ever be transferred to humans.
What do they eat?
While the savvy birds, who mostly feed on live foods such as invertebrates or nuts, seeds or creepy crawlies like earthworms and spiders, will often approach humans for food, Maguire says it is imperative that people refrain from feeding magpies unless they have a permit.
“People do feed them in their backyards but technically they are doing the wrong thing,” she explains. “The main things people will feed them is mince or dog kibble but both are not good for magpies. Mince is too high in different nutrient levels - often too much fat – as in the wild, they are feeding on leaner foods.”
Why you shouldn't feed magpies
Not only is bird feeding bad for their health, Maguire says magpies can become territorial around people and other bird species when regularly encouraged into a garden with food.
If you enjoy backyard visits from rosellas, rainbow lorikeets and parrots, it’s not a good idea to encourage the local magpies.
Despite their reputation for swooping on unsuspecting cyclists or dog owners in the parks, Maguire says magpies are mostly non-aggressive and only get territorial when they deem a person or animal is too close to one of their nesting sites.
In fact, Maguire says these Aussie birds are so intelligent, they can reportedly recognise 100 human faces which they store away as someone who is a threat to their nest or someone who is not.
Even if they don’t see the person until the next breeding season, they will target those 'threatening' people.
Maguire says generally, magpies will fly low and fast over a person and flap their wings and clack their beaks as they pass by to issue a warning but will very rarely strike the intruder or cause physical injury.
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