Baby magpies leave the nest before their tail feathers have grown. They live on the ground and are fed and protected (often by swooping) by the parents during the day and are hidden in undergrowth overnight.
Members of the public sometimes confuse this act of nature with magpie babies being deserted or in distress. Many people think they are doing the right thing by performing a rescue and bringing the baby magpies into us. In reality, if left with their parents, a majority of these will actually end up being juveniles that are learning to fly under the supervision of their parents.
If you are ever concerned about the welfare of a magpie, our best advice is to observe the baby for a period of time to see if the parents are coming and going and whether the bird is actually in any danger. Obviously if it is on a road or in a back yard where there is a resident cat sometimes intervening is the only option. If there is no immediate danger then please do not intervene.
Adult magpies are very territorial and even adults need to return to their territory or else they risk being attacked. If there is immediate danger, and you are in a position to rescue the bird, please note carefully the location of where you found it. This information is vital for wildlife carers to release the bird when it is ready to fly.
DEC Wildcare Hotline 9474 9055
(Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide immediate assistance)
Volunteers handle enquiries and refer callers to one of 560 registered wildlife carers who collect and take care of the animal before releasing it back into its native habitat.