Black-billed Magpies are part of the Corvidae Family, which includes crows, ravens and jays. This family is known for their noisy and aggressive behavior and, most notably, their intelligence and curiosity. Free-roaming chickens, ducks, and pigeons and their eggs and young are susceptible to magpie predation. The magpie is very clever and a frequent thief of duck and chicken eggs.
Completely enclose birds : Housing domestic birds in a durable, completely covered coop will exclude not only magpies but also hawks and owls. The structure can be constructed by attaching 1 inch chicken wire or bird netting to a solid framework. Where a complete and permanent enclosure isn’t practical or desirable, escape cover should be provided. Birds have natural defenses at the sight of a predator and will quickly squeeze under a nearby building, old car, shrub, or other area. Escape cover can be made of planks, plywood, or chicken wire placed over logs, rocks, or bricks. It should be at least 7 x 7 feet wide and long and the cover should be 12 inches off the ground.
- Scary objects : Place pie tins, install a scarecrow
- Thin branches : Modifying the structure of the magpies’ night roost can discourage the birds from using it. This includes thinning up to 50 percent of the branches of roost trees, or removing trees from dense groves to reduce the availability of perch sites and to open the trees to the weather. A tree service company can remove tree limbs.
- Scary tape : attach red and silver “bird scare tape” to stakes and stretch it 18 inches above the areas that need protection. Twist the tape several times before attaching it to stakes so that the visible interval of red/silver is 16 inches. The tape should move freely, so that when a slight breeze blows it will flash in the sun. The space between tapes will have to be no more than 5 feet to be effective.
- Regularly relocate : Scare devices need to be moved weekly (daily if possible) so magpies don’t become accustomed to them; they are also most successful if put in place before the birds become a problem