Last Saturday (6 Sept 14) we found a Magpie chick on our verandah, all alone without a parent close by. Its is still much too young to fly and must have fallen out of the nest in the stong winds. We had to try and sort it out for the night and hopefully get it back in contact with the parents. There are some cats around at night and it would not have stood a chance.
We made a nest for it in a basket and placed it in a trolly bin at at height just below the rim so that he cannot get out too easily. He was quite happy to settle down and started demanding food shortly after. At first we fed him meat scraps but later we dug up some earthworms and he ate them very enthusiastically. He could have been out on his own for a while, we dont know.
As it was already known that he can (and will again) fall out of a nest so I built a little wire mesh fence around the wheely bin to contain him to a small area (3m x 2m). l also provided some branches and tree prunings for him to hide under should he fall off his “nest”. As I discovered, young Magpies have an amazingly strong grip and it is hard to get them to release that grip, even if it is on your hand!
During the next day the adult Magpies in our area came by every now and then to take a look at the youngster but none of them gave him food. Some of them became a bit protective and swooped us a few times. We moved away to let them in but it became clear that none of them was going to feed the youngster.
We are now feeding him a mixture of cheap pet mince and an insectivore rearing mix every couple of hours during the day. At night we close him up to prevent a cat or fox to get to him.
Update on 10 Sept 14:
This morning I saw one of the adult male magpies feeding the youngster. This is fantastic news as I now know that the fledgeling will get the full “magpie treatment” and learn how to look for food, etc. Also, I don’t have to go looking for spiders and other crawly insects for the next 6 weeks! The risk was that the young bird would have grown up expecting me to feed it every day. These magpies knows us well and accepts food from me and then feeds it to the youngster.