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Magpies Breeding In December. Normal?

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Old Friday 28th December 2018, 09:44   #1
vigorniensis
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Magpies Breeding In December. Normal?

We have a woodland the other side of the railway cutting at the bottom of the garden. This leafless woodland has two old magpie nests (one of which was used this year back in April) and we have noticed activity the past couple of weeks in one of the nests. Weather has not been freezing and mild for time of year. Is it normal for magpies to breed in December and will the young make it?
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Old Friday 28th December 2018, 09:52   #2
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Hi vigorniensis and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

I've moved your post to the Bird Behaviour forum, as I think more people with the knowledge will see it there (believe it or not, I don't - or very rarely - see Magpies here).

I also subscribed you to the thread so that you can find it easily. It's quite simple to unsubscribe if you wish). Meantime I hope you enjoy your time here with us.
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Old Friday 28th December 2018, 12:11   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigorniensis View Post
Weather has not been freezing and mild for time of year.
No, I don't think it is, but you've put your finger on the probable reason. If it doesn't get much colder then the young may make it.
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Old Friday 28th December 2018, 13:21   #4
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Interesting observation. I recall seeing a bird carrying sticks to renovate a nest at Uwchmynydd one November day a few years ago. This was during an exceptionally mild period of weather. Once the temperature returned to normal activity ceased. I’ve never previously encountered Magpies exhibiting breeding behaviour in winter - it might be worth having a look in the Poyser monograph by Tim Birkhead or BWP for further information.

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Old Friday 4th January 2019, 12:19   #5
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<b> They now appear to be feeding some young. Extraordinary since there have now been two fairly severe frosts.</b>

Last edited by vigorniensis : Friday 4th January 2019 at 12:28.
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Old Friday 4th January 2019, 12:34   #6
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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 15:12   #7
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Saw two magpies flying with twigs in their beaks today. Very curious.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 18:08   #8
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Everything is possible in this warming world.

In the same context, see this House Martin feeding young in the middle of winter in Extremadura, SW Spain. The chicks were born last December. I think this one is a bit weirder because the species is normally a long-distance migrant wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. However, this won’t take anything away from the Magpies, because the weather in the UK is definitely harsher than in Extremadura.
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 13:08   #9
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Well here we are in February and the parents are still with the nest (if only I had a drone!!!). They have absolutely decimated the second nest in using the materials to bolster their own and there is always some repair work being performed by the male. How the nest has survived some of the gales through January is testament to their building skills as the nest at the top of the tree sways quite violently. I should imagine the birds must get seasick (lol) !!
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 13:16   #10
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Are they still feeding young ( per your post of 04.01.18 )?
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 14:52   #11
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Ditto, have had Magpies carrying “large twigs” into neighbour’s tree since the last week in Dec.
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 21:40   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Everything is possible in this warming world.

In the same context, see this House Martin feeding young in the middle of winter in Extremadura, SW Spain. The chicks were born last December. I think this one is a bit weirder because the species is normally a long-distance migrant wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. However, this won’t take anything away from the Magpies, because the weather in the UK is definitely harsher than in Extremadura.
Also leads to the interesting bird age / plumage nomenclature of a 2cy half-feathered unfledged chick
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Old Thursday 14th February 2019, 17:02   #13
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Two magpies have been very busy today collecting nesting material from the garden. They are building (or touching up) a nest in a nearby conifer, same place as last year.
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