Drawing in corvids
I have bought a couple of magpie decoys in the hope of attracting corvids close enough to shoot them with my air rifle. I’ve tried using them a few times and though crows and magpies have noticed them, they haven’t landed anywhere nearby. I’m using a hide and incoming birds don’t appear to be spooked. Why aren’t the decoys working?
Magpie and crow decoys can work on their own but it often pays to add a little something extra to the arrangement, especially when you need birds to settle close enough to pick them off with an air rifle. During the spring and summer, when wild birds are nesting, I set up corvid decoys next to a fake nest made from a few twists of dry grass with two hen’s eggs placed inside. Later in the year, I use a more substantial bait, usually a dead rabbit or squirrel with its belly cut open to expose its guts. This set-up creates the impression of a free meal and an element of competition, and can usually be relied upon to pull passing corvids within range. MM black-and-white raptor — bigger than a buzzard with a noticeably larger wingspan. The flight is more direct — with less soaring — and there is a kink in the wing profile that is really distinctive.
Most birds spend the winter in west Africa, in countries such as Senegal, where they hunt for fish in rivers and estuaries. A Scottish-ringed osprey produced one of the most famous ringing reports of all time, when its ring was found in the stomach of a crocodile on the Gambia river.
Add a dead squirrel or rabbit to your magpie decoy and corvids should show more interest