Magpies love to sing and if you’re an Aussie, you know that all too well. But the problem is, there comes a time when you will find yourself wondering—how to stop magpies singing at night.
That’s a valid question because these birds are quite chatty. Here are a few things you should understand about the singing schedule and preferences of magpies so that you can devise your own antidote. Let’s begin.
What’s with Birds and Singing?
We are all familiar with the concept of bird songs. But do birds really sing? Yes, they do actually. Singing is their way of calling for a mate. That’s why these songs are often loud and clear.
No one, not even birds, wants to waste time looking for a mate the old-fashioned way. Plus, it’s not like they can meet one at the local coffee shop, so they have to advertise their singing talents.
But that’s not the only reason.
Some birds, like magpies, often sing to make sure other birds know that the place they are in is their territory. So, it’s basically them making another announcement and warning other birds to stay away from their space.
Strictly speaking, there are only certain groups of birds like finches, thrushes and warblers that are recognized as songbirds.
That is because these birds practice their songs and perfect them over a period of time.
Other birds usually know them by birth and don’t need to practice. They do it if and when they need to sing.
Now, let’s remember that we are talking about birds and the definition of a song is a bit blurred. Nevertheless, you will notice that different birds sing for different reasons and in groups or singles according to their needs.
For instance, goldfinches are often found singing in a group while both male and female robins sing when they need to defend their territory while they are feeding in the winter.
Why Magpies Sing
If you’re Australian, you know that the magpie is a hot favorite in the country. In fact, the magpie’s song is a classic sound in the country. They are so used to the sound that a lot of them don’t even hear it anymore.
But if you are new to it, the magpie’s song has the ability to move you quite deeply to the point that you might even take your cell phone out to record it. Yes, it’s that beautiful.
In fact, it is their song that has given them their scientific name Cracticus tibicen. The word tibicen means flutist or piper. They are known to sing in the morning and evening to announce their territory to other birds.
But soon you will get to the point of asking how to stop magpies singing at night. That’s because these birds also have other noises that sound like grunting.
Now, that’s not so melodious and hence you can safely say that it’s not a song. These sounds are their way of communicating with each other. And they do it constantly because they are chatty little birds.
How to Drown Out Magpies Singing at Night
Just because these birds are chatty doesn’t mean we have to tolerate them. Since they do a lot of it at night, it can be annoying too.
This brings us to the question at hand—how to stop magpies singing at night. So, while there isn’t much you can do without flouting state and/or federal laws, you can certainly try drowning the sound with these few easy tricks.
- Start by closing all the windows of the house.
- You can also try placing bird netting or deer netting in a dwarf tree or a shrub if you have one of those. This will keep the birds away from your garden and get some distance between them and your house.
- Some people like to use fans to drown out the singing.
- Earplugs and cotton balls are not the most convenient solutions, but they are an option nevertheless.
- Nature sounds that are used for relaxation often do a good job in keeping the bird-singing sound to a minimum.
Studies have also shown that light pollution is keeping birds like magpies and pigeons awake at night. And that’s not helpful to you plus it also forces them to sleep during the day and affects their ability to look for food during the day.
So, switching off white lights in the garden or anywhere on the outside of your property is an excellent idea so that both you and the magpie get some sleep.
How to Keep Magpies Away in General
If you don’t have much success with these tactics, you might have to keep them away from your property entirely. This is apart from hoping that they find their mate and move on.
So, a better answer to the question of how to stop magpies singing at night is to see if you can keep the birds away from your property so that you don’t have to inconvenience yourself. And in this respect, there is a lot you can do.
1. Cover the Garden Produce
You can keep birds like magpies away by covering the fruits and vegetables with a net. You can save the produce and keep the birds away. It’s like they say, two birds with one shot except no one gets hurt this way.
And these nets are available in many sizes so you can cover a garden of any size. If the bird can’t see the fruit, they won’t be attracted to the garden and will eventually find another feeding ground.
2. About Using Bird Feeders
Bird feeders are actually magpie magnets because they make for an easy meal. And magpies keep the smaller birds away. So, you must get rid of the standard-sized feeders with feeders that are made especially for small birds, if you still want those around.
Those special feeders also come with the advantage of getting rid of squirrels which is a bonus feature. These feeders have a feeding bar that lowers when you apply more weight and the door to the birdseed closes.
That is exactly what you want when you are trying to keep large birds like magpies away. Otherwise, you give a source of food and a place to hang out and they will sing practically in your ear all day and night.
Some feeders also have a metal casing that keeps large birds like magpies away. There is a small hole which is big enough for the small birds so that the others can’t access the food.
3. Get Rid of Bird Baths
Like every other bird, magpies like water. So, if you have a birdbath in your garden or anywhere on the outside of your property, get rid of it.
If you have a smaller garden with nets, you can try having it closer to home and in a place where the birds can’t spot it but it is still quite the risk.
In the same breath, take a look around for standing pools or open places that can turn into puddles when you hose the garden or it rains. If you have pools or a pond on your property, getting rid of it is not going to be an option.
Then you must think of ways to scare the magpies away. That’s the next step.
4. Eliminate Food Sources
We’ve already dealt with covering food sources like the produce in your garden. Now, you must think of other items that can turn into a food source for birds. We are talking about edible items like pet food and trash cans.
Keep your garbage cans covered so that they don’t come looking for leftovers. Now, it’s important to remember that magpies eat meat too. So, dispose of the bones and other remains carefully. Magpies also like to poke around rain gutters on the roof because they find dirt, leaves and worms in them.
It’s a good reason for you to keep the rain gutters also clean. Or if you want a shortcut, keep them covered with a cloth which will keep the water moving and the magpies away.
Pet food must be moved indoors so that your pets are the ones who actually end up eating it. Magpies like both cat and dog food. This is especially true in the summer. In the winters, they look for plant-based items.
5. Get Some Decoys
Like pigeons, you can use a few decoys to scare magpies too. A number of options including scarecrows make for a good decoy.
If you don’t want to buy one, you can always get a couple of old CDs (if you can find any) and hang them on the balcony.
These round objects that revolve with wind look like the eyes of a predator and make for a good decoy.
They are also a good choice because when they move, light reflects off them and this is an unpredictable occurrence that magpies don’t understand. Use their confusion to your advantage.
The best way to place them is to keep the CDs about five feet apart. They can be hung on the roof or on the patio where you have fruit trees. But remember that CDs will keep other birds away too.
You can also use half-empty water bottles for the same reason—the light reflects off the water.
Magpies are naturally singing birds and you can’t do much to interrupt their process.
Your best hope is to see where they are hanging out and use a few tactics to keep them away while making arrangements to drown out the noise and hope for the best. Good luck.
Fly high friends!