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The magpie, or to give the species the correct Latin name, the Pica Pica is one of our most recognisable British birds. It is very easy to spot and identify with its distinctive black and white feathers, long tail, and loud chattering cry.
The Pica Pica is a member of the crow family. Despite the striking and appealing appearance, Magpies are not always a welcome sight. Although they are pest destroyers, many people consider them scavengers. They are unhappy that magpies will often take eggs and young of other birds during the breeding season. Although unproven, this has been cited as having an adverse effect on the number of songbirds in the UK.
If you have a problem with Magpies on your land, it is essential that you seek professional help and do not try to tackle the problem yourself. Along with other bird species, Pica Pica is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means it is illegal to try to take, kill or injure a magpie or cause intentional damage to its nest or the nest contents. Such actions could result in a court appearance and prosecution. There are occasions, however (such as where public health or livestock could be at risk), when control is necessary. In these instances, the Government may issue a licence to undertake such action. This allows an 'Authorised Person' to carry out a reasonable reduction on the number of magpies using controlled methods.