The video below could have be taken on any day of the week at our place and the results would be much the same.
The only thing different would be how many magpies turn up. Some days there are only five or six and other days up to twelve or thirteen. Maybe they have breakfast somewhere else on those days. It’s a reliable breakfast at our place, seven days a week.
Aren’t cats Enemy Number One to birds? Yes!
Our cat has been trained to not attack the magpies and in turn the magpies take no notice of him. The birds and the cat will walk around together quite happily.
The cat and the birds seem to have developed a mutual respect (even if they don't know that is what they have done). So cats can be trained. The key to success, especially in the beginning is getting a reward for good behavior.
The Cat And The Magpies
Every morning when the magpies start caroling, a series of actions occur in our household.
The cat hears the magpies and knows that food for him is not far away. The cat is then keen to go into the front garden because he knows that he will receive some tidbits of food at the same time the birds are being fed.
As the cat has become older and is displaying different habits he will become very animated, meowing very loudly, if the routine is delayed in any way.
My OH whistles for the magpies, the magpies recognize the whistle and literally appear out of nowhere, swooping down the street until they reach the front of the house.
Some magpies are more curious than others and this magpie likes to come and sit on the front railing.
Sometimes a couple of magpies will be right at the front door looking through the screen door. They would happily trot right right into the house.
How Was The Cat Trained To Not Attack The Birds?
From a young age the cat was instructed to sit at the same time as being encouraged into a sitting position. When he did this he was rewarded with something to eat and then the magpies were given food and so they took turns.
It really was a matter of always keeping the cat close, firmly insisting that he “sat” and then rewarding him with food.
You do need to be quite regimented with the cat in the beginning as is required when training any animal to behave in a certain way.
These days, the cat is fed at the same time as the magpies, he doesn’t need to 'sit' and there is never even the slightest chance that he will attack the birds and conversely the birds take no notice of him either. They wander around together. This is despite that fact that there have been many different magpies over the years.
Where Do The Birds Come From?
The birds are Magpies. It can be quite frightening to have a magpie swoop as they are fast and deadly accurate usually aiming for the head however the magpies are just protecting their nest as swooping only happens in Spring.
However, for the rest of the year magpies don't swoop at all. Most of the population would probably not have experienced a swooping magpie but may have heard stories from those who have been swooped.
They are territorial and in the video the reason my OH walks down the street, is because there is another group of magpies further down the street holding the fort in their territory.
The magpie has a beautiful song which is usually referred to as caroling. My husband has perfected the magpie call and each morning delivers a loud whistling anthem to alert the magpies that it is feeding time, albeit a very small amount of food.
The Cat Is Outside
Many cats are kept inside all of the time and may have an enclosed run to allow them to enjoy being outside.
Our cat is now old and can’t go too far so he enjoys being able to roam around the backyard which is entirely enclosed so he cannot get out.
The forays into the front yard are strictly supervised and the cat even has his own extension on the front verandah which he enjoys depending on the weather.
Mostly he is asleep somewhere comfortable inside the house.
Cats Can Be Trained
Cats can be trained not to attack birds but it does take persistence. This may not work if the cat wasn't being fed at the same time as the magpies.
The cat and the magpies have both politely adapted to waiting their turn.
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