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Magpies vandalising plants in pots?

I've got a verigated Laural  in an ex flower bucket. It's doing fine-very healthy.

A couple of weeks ago I saw some leaves from  the laural plant scattered around nearby, and one or two leaves on the plant had tears in them. It seemed strange at the time.

In the last few days I have seen a magpie(s) amongst my young trees in pots.

I used to feed the birds up to last year. The magpies would invariably get to the food before the songbirds had a chance. Now they go hungry.

Today I went out for 2 hours. When I came home, this young plum seedling (pic below) had been half pulled from it's pot, nearly severing the top growth from the roots. I'm convinced it is the magpies scavenging for food.

Has anyone else experienced this problem from magpies?




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,800
    This morning we found shoots of Creeping Jenny floating in the birdbath. OH said he’d seen a magpie “messing about” there..

    And there were two plug sized Calendula seedlings  totally missing  from their pots this morning and two leaves missing from a nasturtium seedling which had three leaves when we went to bed. The pots were all on the terrace table next to the rosemary a starling was stripping leaves from earlier in the week ... 🧐

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,716
    Magpies often took tomatoes from my little greenhouse here. I had to fit some mesh across the front to stop them getting too many  :D
    Recently, I've been watching them stash stuff on the neighbour's hedge - I can see it from my kitchen window. Yesterday, when I was doing dishes, he/she was back retrieving it  :)
    I don't see it as a problem though - it''s just the way they are.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PurpleRosePurpleRose Posts: 538
    I have a similar problem. It isn't magpies though, it is seaguls. 

    Thankfully i have not had too much destroyed.  A couple of small plants had been shredded /trampled on and the leaves of my dying off daffodils have also been shredded. 
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,671
    My daughter showed me pictures the other day of her tomato plants in pots and the compost was lying all around, she thought it might have been a squirrel but I'm not sure, maybe magpies.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    I think magpies vandalise plants just for fun.  We once watched a family of them, parents and four fledglings, spend about 20 minutes in an elaborate dance around my mum's pieris which grew in the middle of the lawn.  Part of the dance involved picking up, carrying and putting down leaves; we didn't see them detaching any from the plant but that may have happened before we noticed them.  It was extraordinary, especially the fact that it went on for so long, they seemed very intent on it.  Anyone would have thought the parents were rehearsing the young ones for a dancing competition.

    I don't think there is any malice in their destructiveness; they can't understand how much our plants mean to us, or that there is any difference between wild and cultivated plants.  Although anyone who has read about Gerald Durrell's magenpies may disagree.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,284
    edited May 2020
    Saw a mouse on the patio yesterday evening. I just now looked out the window to see a magpie hopping across the patio into the undergrowth with something mouse shaped in its beak. Is it likely he caught it?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,800
    Oh yes @B3

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • B3B3 Posts: 27,284
    Good. Magpies are welcome on my patio any time😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,647
    When our primroses were in flower we noticed the flower heads lying on the paths or lawn. The culprits? Sparrows.
    Mice have been digging into the plant pots that have had bulbs/corms in them and eating them.
    Pigeons started last year to strip the leaves of our plum, gages and cherry trees in our orchard. They really do feast on them but the trees do recover. We have to put up mini stick fences around veg seedlings to stop the pigeons flying down and taking them all.
    And magpies? Well they wait for the cherry trees to fruit and take all the unripe fruit (too big to net!!!)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,716
    Sparrows are particularly keen on yellow flowers  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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