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The video below is of a Jay harassing a Blackbird. It is the view of the people at http://www.songbird-survival.org.uk/ that the corvid predators (crows, magpies and jays) are amongst those having a dramatic effect on the songbird population. We have all noticed that there are many more magpies in our gardens than there were, and it is argued that each magpie might be responsible for 100 songbird deaths.

Tags: blackbird, corvid, jay, songbird, survival

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Many thanks for capturing this incident, which, in my opinion is commonplace in the gardens of Crouch End - and bravo for providing such an apposite soundtrack!

Over the past few years in Crouch End, corvids (such as jays, jackdaws, magpies & crows) have proliferated, whilst songbirds have all but disappeared - and the Songbird Survival Trust provides a wealth of evidence for the cause of this dramatic inverse correlation.

You'll have seen it yourself, readers.  Just cast your minds back to those times when the previously delightful melodies and warblings of blackbirds, tits, thrushes, and robins, simply stopped from one morning to the next.  Suddenly a silence, a void...how strange? Not at all: the songbirds haven't emigrated; instead, the corvids have either killed or frightened them away (as well as robbing their nests of eggs and fledglings at the same time).

It should also be noted that the corvids' interests don't just stop at songbirds: I've seen crows and magpies terrorising cats, crows attacking magpies, and jackdaws swarming blackbirds.  Also, think of your delightful walks across Alexandra Park, and what's memorable ornithologically? Yes, just one thing, dozens and dozens of marauding crows and magpies - and notably little else. 

At the end of the day, corvids are carnivores, they hunt in packs, they have no natural predators, and songbirds are easy pickings.  We need to recognise the true nature of these pests if songbirds are to survive in our area, and as a community we should be considering ways of controlling their numbers.

I urge readers to look up the Songbird Survival Trust's website (www.songbird-survival.org.uk).


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