I like magpies. They’re clever, good looking birds. I know lots of people who feed birds aren’t keen on them. But they’re always welcome to help themselves to the food I put out for birds in my garden.
Having said that, yesterday one really pushed my goodwill. We have a tiny cherry tree, which is currently laden with almost ripe fruit. Ignoring the bird table laden with different food purchased at great expense, the magpie decided to go for the cherries.
I love cherries. The tree is still quite young, so we haven’t had many to eat in previous years. And it’s so small (it’s a minaret tree in a big pot) that there isn’t enough to share. The magpie stealing from our precious supply cut me to the quick.
Now, my garden is very definitely primarily a wildlife garden. I take a laissez-faire approach to pest control, hoping that the slow worms, frogs and hedgehogs that visit will keep the slugs and other plant munchers under control. It doesn’t really work, which is why I have given up on growing peas and beans, and my courgette plants have all disappeared. But I am not prepared to sit idly by and watch my cherries get gobbled.
My first attempt at putting off the magpies is hanging a cd from the tree (as I don’t have a big enough net). I put it up yesterday lunchtime, and haven’t seen a magpie since. But I have been out most of this morning, so I can’t say for sure whether it works. The trouble is that magpies are clever birds, so it probably won’t take them long to suss it out.
It only has to work for long enough for the cherries to finish ripening. Will there be any left by then?