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How to scare away magpies

Updated March 23, 2017

Magpies are birds that are recognisable by their black and white feathers. Many gardeners consider magpies a nuisance, especially when the birds eat garden fruits and vegetables, or when they become aggressive during the summer in an attempt to protect their nests and other areas used for roosting. When roosting magpies become a nuisance, one of the more effective non-lethal methods of dealing with the birds on your property is to try and scare them away.

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  1. Cover all fruits and vegetables with protective netting to cut the magpies off from potential sources of food. Empty any bird feeders and water sources such as birdbaths as well. Eliminating food and water sources from the area will make your home and garden less appealing to the magpies.

  2. Hang inflated Mylar balloons, CDs and aluminium pie tins approximately 90 cm (3 feet) above the ground near your garden. As the wind blows, sunlight will reflect off the metallic surfaces and scare the magpies.

  3. Attach material known as "bird-scare tape" to stakes and string it approximately 45 cm (18 inches) above potential food sources, twisting the tape several times while stringing it and allowing it enough slack to hang loosely. The bird-scare tape alternates patches of red and metallic silver, creating reflections similar to those of Mylar balloons when it blows in the wind.

  4. Play recordings of rooks or crows in distress at periodic intervals. The sound can alarm the magpies and cause them to leave due to the possibility of a predator or other hazard in the area.

  5. Move any balloons or other items you've placed to scare away magpies every week to prevent the birds from becoming used to the position of the deterrents.

  6. Tip

    If all else fails, remember that they are beautiful, that they eat your insects, and some think you will soon receive good news. Perhaps that your pesky aerial neighbors have decided to leave!


    Do not attempt to hit or otherwise assault magpies as this can cause them to become more aggressive, resulting in possible bird attacks that could leave you with scratches and bites.

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Things You'll Need

  • Fruit and vegetable netting
  • Mylar balloons
  • CDs
  • Aluminium pie tins
  • Bird-scare tape

About the Author

Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.

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