In the past, there have been itinerant magpies in and around the garden. We often used to see them on country walks but they have, in recent years, started to colonise urban areas. For the last couple of years, a nesting pair has taken up residence in a neighbour's tree. Magpies are beautiful birds but can be aggressive towards other birds.

Last year, we saw a magpie with a young blackbird in its beak though we do not know whether the prey had fallen or been taken from the nest. There were two very distressed parent blackbirds, however.

This morning, my attention was drawn by a magpie hopping between the house roof and adjacent wild cherry tree while making what seemed to be a 'danger' call. I could not see what was alarming the bird so much until, after about a minute, a neighbour's cat timidly slouched out from behind the sarcococca bush next to the cherry tree. The magpie then shepherded the cat out of the garden, constantly repeating its warning call, by keeping a respectful 10 feet behind as it hopped/flew from fence to shed to pergola and encouraged the cat to leave. I'm guessing there are young magpies around which was why this parent was being so protective. The magpies have been visiting our bird feeders probably for the dried mealworms.

Despite their aggressive behaviour towards other small birds, I quite like the idea of a resident magpie that keeps cats (and their mess) out of our garden.

Update (17/5/21): This morning I heard the same warning call from the magpie but this time it was coming from our neighbour's garden. I walked into our 'secret' garden and found the neighbour's cat apparently paralysed with fear on the fence/hedge that separates our two gardens and hiding from the magpie. Normally, the cat will disappear if I shoo it away but not this time. It stayed rigidly in the same position until I walked menacingly towards it. However, instead of scooting back to his own garden, it disappeared behind the shed. A few minutes later, Mary saw the magpie on the shed roof before flying into the Paradise garden and the cat skulking off behind the shed again to hide again. So that is 2 local cats terrorised by a magpie. Notably, Mary also saw a magpie feeding two other magpies (presumably young ones) nearby which explains the bird's super aggressive behaviour. 


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