MAY 29, 2019
A new study has revealed a range of factors that cause a variation in predation by magpies on farmland songbirds.
Researchers from University of Exeter and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) placed 460 artificial nests on typical farmland in Warwickshire to study predator behaviour.
They found magpies were the most common predators, accounting for 70% of visits where the predator could be identified.
Nests inside magpie breeding territories were predated by magpies more often, especially late in the season when magpies themselves had young in their nests.
Intriguingly, some specific nest locations were repeatedly highly predated.
The findings come amid controversy over the rules governing which birds can be killed to protect wild birds, crops and livestock.
"This works suggests that, although most nest predators are magpies, not all magpies are nest predators," said Dr. Joah Madden, of the University of Exeter.