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Last Friday, whilst at work in Milton Keynes, I noticed a Magpie taking an aggressive interest in a Water Rail which was clearly becoming agitated about the approach of the larger bird. I didn't see the Magpie actually make contact but had I not been there I think the Magpie may well have made a full attack.
Perhaps, like me, the Magpie was surprised to see the Rail - it had been cornered against a brick wall presumably having been blown off course by the strong winds that day. There are reed beds not far - about 200m away - where I know Water Rails hang out. Luckily the Water Rail found an escape route and ran off towards the car park - but it wasn't followed by the Magpie.
What other species have been seen being approached ( or worse attacked) by Magpies? Is there a worrying trend for bolder more aggressive Magpies? I note there have been other forum postings on this point.
I'd be interested to hear from you.