Each trap requires a decoy bird, a live magpie, readily available at the beginning of the season from nearby farmers, and replaced by trapped birds to keep the captivity short. It needs to be fed and watered, of course.
The reduction in magpie numbers in my garden has been matched by the increase in the songbird population. I now shoot the rare visiting magpie, with a 12-bore high-energy cartridge and No 4 shot, from cover - they are wary birds. I am reluctant to kill them, but more reluctant to see them tearing songbird parents to pieces.
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