Letter: Spare the magpie

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Sir: The Independent has carried some amazing correspondence recently on the subject of magpies and foxes.

I remember a similar vitriolic attack on magpies made in letters to our Oxfordshire paper. I defended magpies, quoting research done by the RSPB, and for my trouble I was treated to several anonymous packages in the post containing pieces of dead magpie, with sinister scrawled greetings enclosed.

In my garden, which is about half an acre and extremely wildlife-friendly, I have several magpies. I also have numerous songbirds, including robins, greenfinches, tits, bullfinches, thrushes and goldfinches. My resident blackbirds once again this year raised three broods of youngsters.

The only piece of magpie behaviour at which I have raised my eyebrows was the adoption by two magpies of a juvenile crow which I had released after hand-rearing it. They tolerated its continual hanging-on for weeks. It still visits the garden.

PENNY LITTLE

Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

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