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Over the past week or so we’ve discovered a number of pigeon feathers in the garden – not enough to indicate that a sparrowhawk has attacked but more feathers than a regular moult. We were intrigued. What’s happening?

Then, a few days ago, I looked out the window into the garden and saw an adult magpie chasing a juvenile pigeon away, grabbing onto its tail feathers and pulling them out as the pigeon flew away. Mystery solved!

We’re not worried that the magpies will do any serious harm to the pigeons, they’re obviously just chasing them away so they can have a chance to eat the peanuts we throw out there. Everyone gets a chance: the pigeons, squirrels, rat, magpies, jays, foxes and badgers all enjoy the peanuts.

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Visiting jay