Two for Joy

Magpies have had a bad press in recent years, and much of it probably unfair. They are certainly very handsome birds, apparently highly intelligent, and can be playful too. Not so long ago they used to be quite rare, but modern society provides conditions for magpies to flourish. According to the RSPB a breeding pair need about 5 hectares, so in the 60ha of Bradlaugh Fields there may be around 12 nest sites. Magpie nests are large, often at the top of tall trees, as this one off Holton’s Lane (top left of the photo) which looks like a big ball of sticks

Magpie nest near Holton's Lane top of tall tree

Magpie nest near Holton's Lane

Egg-laying starts from April, so the crow I saw poking into a nest in the Fulford Drive hedgerow this week maybe thought it’d get in early and fancied some magpie eggs for lunch

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much to the annoyance of the parents-to-be, on the receiving end this time, whose nest it is and who tried long and hard to drive the bigger bird away

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Whatever the truth about their habits, they can’t be that harmful to songbirds as the hedgerows, trees and shrubs of Bradlaugh Fields are bursting with blue-tits, great-tits, long-tailed tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, robins, blackbirds, thrushes and a host of others now that spring is finally arriving!

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