Man from Ederney shares fears for local starlings

A LOCAL bird lover has raised concerns about the small bird population in his area after six nests around his home were attacked by magpies, killing a number of starling chicks.

Maurice McGrath, who lives on the outskirts of Ederney, has been providing habitat for small birds around his home for many years, but in the past two years he has seen starling nests attacked by magpies.

“There were six starlings’ nests. I deliberately cut six squares out of the dashboard all around my bungalow here, so they can come in and nest.

“Two-inch squares to provide them with homes,” he said, noting that this is the same breed of starlings that have been nesting in the area for 50 years.

Maurice explained that the starlings started to nest in early May, but unfortunately the nests were attacked by magpies in mid-June, killing all the starling chicks.

This is the second year that the starling nests around his house have been attacked by magpies.

Commenting that the killing of starlings by magpies is very upsetting, Maurice explained that he has also noticed a decrease in the number of other small birds in his area.

“It’s devastating. I walk a lot with my dog, and I know the numbers very well [of small birds] are down.

“There wouldn’t be three swallows in the village of Ederney this year. I’ve always counted them. There were three areas around the village and there was a group of swallows every year, around 20 swallows.

“This year, I don’t see any in the village. The magpie population is increasing every year. Everywhere I go now, I see magpies, magpies, magpies, ”Maurice told this newspaper.

The impartial rapporteur contacted the RSPB, asking if they were aware that this situation was happening on a regular basis and what can be done to help prevent this.

A spokesperson for the RSPB replied: “It can be extremely upsetting to see one species attacking another species, especially if young birds are the prey. It is human nature to want to protect attacked birds. However, it is the ruthless side of the natural world that we share, and predation is a daily threat to all other species. ”

The RSPB spokesperson explained how all species around the world have developed defenses and strategies to deal with predation.

“The magpie is one of the UK’s native predators, and any birds you will see in the garden have evolved with magpie predation as well. None of the evidence we have seen suggests that magpie is the cause of songbird decline. They occupy a niche as a natural predator, which all food chains need, ”said the RSPB spokesperson.

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