Magpies are big birds related to crows and blue jays. Their diet consists of insects, animals and plant matter. Magpies are also excellent scavengers but their habit of feeding on small mammals and beneficial insects can be a problem in agricultural areas. Magpies can live in large flocks and are difficult to control.
Items you will need
Mesh or chicken wire
Metal rod 1/4-inch in diameter
Begin with a metal rod. Take the rod and bend it into the shape of circle. Weld the two ends together. This ring will serve as the base of the trap and the larger the rod the larger the trap. A reasonable-sized trap would be approximately 4 feet in diameter and 2 1/2 feet high. Take some mesh and bend it over and around the ring. In effect, you are making a flat-bottomed basket.
Use your other wire to secure the mesh to the ring. You will need to tie it in several places. Fasten it in as many spots as seems necessary. On one side of the trap make a door by cutting a vertical slit in the middle of that side. The slit should be around 12 inches long and about the same distance from the top of the trap as it is from the bottom. Cut two 18-inch horizontal slots beginning at the top and bottom of the vertical slot. You should be left with something that resembles a door. Open the door of the magpie trap to make sure it goes back and forth.
Turn over the trap so that the ring is on top. The flat portion of the basket is actually the roof of the trap. Now, begin to fashion a kind of tunnel on the side of your trap. The opening of this tunnel should be about 2 feet wide and and 12 to 18 inches high. The ground should form the bottom of the tunnel. Make the tunnel by pushing in on the mesh wall. Keep going until you end up with a funnel shape that extends into the heart of the magpie trap. The inside end of the tunnel should be no more than a few inches wide.
Place the trap in an area frequented by magpies. Use stakes to secure it to the ground. Place bait near your trap. You can use pieces of meat or almost any kind of small dead animal. The magpies will become accustomed to taking the bait in the presence of the trap. After a few days, place bait inside the trap. Wait for the magpies to come.
Brian Adler has been writing articles on history, politics, religion, art, architecture and antiques since 2002. His writing has been published with Demand Studios, as well as in an online magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Columbia University.