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Why we must protect magpies | Chris Packham | The Guardian
...the Songbird Survival Trust has called all bird lovers to arms. They want a magpie cull and they are not just asking farmers or gamekeepers to lock and load; they want everyone with a garden to use their legal right to kill these birds now, in their breeding season, leaving their chicks to starve in the nest. Well, as a lifelong and passionate birder, I'm not going to be signing up for the slaughter.

The trust's reasoning comes down to the same old misinformed chestnut - that evil magpies are causing the decline in smaller songbirds. It's kneejerk ornithological racism, ignorant and counterproductive. It's true that some magpies prey on the nests of smaller birds during the breeding season, but this is for perhaps three or four months of the year and only affects young birds that are easily replaced. The magpies never kill the more valuable breeding adults (unlike cats, which do so 365 days a year). No predator would thrive by dramatically reducing its own food supply...

So how could the trust get it so wrong? I can only assume that this fringe group is still clinging to outdated views built on a foundation of medieval superstition.

Or maybe they understand a bit about Predator Prey Cycles, silly old medieval superstitions such as Lotka-Volterra equations and refinements there of. Mr Packham should stick to gurning to the camera.

Comments

Here, here and same here too. Our eco-fundamentalists are right into killing things, hedgehogs are targets here (because they're introduced) as of course are the beautiful rosellas (ditto, and because they apparently may "displace native birds"). Humbug ratbags.

For someone who describes himself as a "passionate birder", Mr Packham displays frightening ignorance:

...this is for perhaps three or four months of the year and only affects young birds that are easily replaced.

Firstly, I guess magpies only feast on nest-bound chicks for three or four months a year because this is the only time that source of food is available.

Secondly, if Ma and Pa Spadger loose their brood in one year, the chances are they will only be able to create all those replacements he talks about the following year. It's called the breeding season for a bloody good reason, after all.

May the good Lord preserve us from people whose only "knowledge" of nature seems to be derived from over-exposure to the entertainments of Mr Walt Disney.

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