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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Today I came across a magpie with a wing injury that seems to have left her at least temporarily flightless. The site of the injury looks like it might have been bleeding at some point, and so I worry about possible infection in addition of course to the bird likely needing at least to be rehabilitated (and if she is non-releasable, to be adopted). So I went after the bird to try to catch her but she climbed into a tree.

I've tried to catch what injured magpies several times before, and was able to do so successfully only twice. In both cases the magpies, Maggie and Margo, were non-releasable and I adopted them. Maggie was young and in a yard with no trees, and I was able to get a blanket over her on the first attempt. Although Margo had a badly infected wing she was harder to catch; I chased her through several yards until she climbed a tree. Then I came several hours to check on her later, at which point she was walking on the ground and not looking so great. Another man had pulled up and was thinking about just killing her. At that point I was able to catch her and get her to an emergency vet to get her infection treated.

My sense is that the only thing to do if an injured magpie gets into a tree is to leave, come back to check if they're still on the ground and injured, and if so try again to catch them (as happened with Margo). But I was wondering if anyone has any other advice on what one can do to catch injured magpies.

Thanks so much,
Howard
 

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Howard, thank you for helping the magpies! You may not be able to catch the poor thing until it leaves the tree. Do you have access to a long handled fishing net? We got one from our sporting goods store. It has soft cloth but strong mesh. Hope you are able to catch the bird before a predator does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, cwebster. I've made three attempts to catch the magpie so far at intervals of several hours (after which she was back on the ground foraging), all of which were unsuccessful. I do have a kind of improvised long handled net made from a regular net and a pole that can screw onto it. I got it in case a release of a rehabbed pigeon was unsuccessful (but luckily that was successful and I didn't use it). Is the idea to use the long handled net to try to get her when she's in the tree if I can't get her on the ground? In the past I've gotten the magpies by throwing blankets over them on the ground. The net opening seems so narrow that I'd think it would be less effective at catching a maneuvering magpie on the ground...
 

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Be careful with nets as wings can and have been broken using them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know nets can be dangerous. My net is basically tight-weave bed-sheet material with no holes, just like the bed-sheets that I've found to be the safest for handling magpies. Still, I'm a bit worried about trying to use it on her if she's up in the tree; because she can't fly I'm concerned that if I knock her off and don't catch her she could fall and sustain further injuries.
 

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Would not try tocatch her in the tree. Our net has very soft cloth mesh and a 1 1/2 foot opening and a telescoping handle. We just use it if ever needed in the shed but havent had to use it so far. Hope you can catch the bird soon. Im sure you have already tried putting food down. Magpies are really smart. Do you think she would fall for a propped open box trap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think the Magpie may be able to fly!

I made another unsuccessful attempt to capture the magpie today. First, she evaded me by running on the ground under a fence. But then, after I think I finally had another shot at trying to get her (I'm pretty sure this was her and not one of her siblings / flock mates - they are hanging out together) , she climbed a tree and, when I tried to grab her on the lower branches, she flew away quite some distance at a height of at least 15-20 feet!

Could it be that the injury wasn't so great - that it only looks so bad because of damage to blood feathers - and she won't need to be rehabbed (or adopted)?

I'll keep coming back. I hate to terrorize her and interrupt her foraging like this, but I want to make sure that she's safe. Maybe next time I can just try to observe her from a distance for awhile and see if she does some flying to confirm that it was her.

Thanks!
Howard
 

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Howard, your persistence is laudable. Hope she us all better. Hope she is ok now. It must be hard to tell them apart though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Unfortunately it now looks like the magpie who could fly was a different one (who did have some feather damage), but the original one I saw can't fly. I saw the original one yesterday and approached her to see if she would fly, and she didn't. Today I made another attempt to catch her and she successfully evaded me, but seemed definitely to demonstrate an inability to fly (she ran away on the ground, and when she was in a short tree, in a situation where it definitely would have been ideal to fly away, she just hopped from branch to branch, then finally hopped down, ran across the street (which I'd made sure was clear before I made my attempt), and hopped up the branches of another tree.

So, while apparently clearly unable to fly, she seems to be really good at evading me. If she's able to evade me this well then hopefully she can evade predators (e.g. cats, but perhaps also hawks, and dogs if she wanders into a yard with a dog, of which there is at least one in her territory).

I suppose that the only thing for it is to keep seeing if her health and ability to evade capture decline by my continuing to monitor - and indeed continuing to try to get her? I hate freaking her out and I definitely don't want to interfere with her feeding and such while she is in the wild. But perhaps if I made one trip over to check on her and try to get her each day I could get a good sense of whether her health and safety are declining, and if they do decline hopefully I can get her before a predator does.

Thanks,
Howard
 

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Seems as though she can fly somewhat if not great. Maybe injured the wing, and in not over using it, it will heal. Sometimes they do strain or sprain things that do get better. Maybe just needs rest.
 
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