Council approves $12 million magpie relocation plan

Jun 17th, 2014 | By | Category: Calgary, Feature, New
Magpies Calgary

The City plans to spend $12 million dollars rounding up all the magpies and relocating them outside city limits. Photo by Flickr user jean-jacquesboujot

By Urban Anomie

On Monday, City Council approved an ambitious plan to deal with the city’s annoying magpie problem, by capturing all the squawky birds and moving them three kms outside city limits.

Dubbed “Operation Wingstrike,” the plan is being hailed as a first for any city in the world, and according to independent experts, should be 100 percent successful.

“It’s a scientific fact that birds have smaller brains,” says Gordon Johansson, a night crew supervisor at Petworld, whom the City consulted. “You see, the trick is to move them to the same kind of tree you found them in so they get confused and just assume that they had a hard night partying at the bird bath.”

He went on, “if they were captured near an evergreen tree, you release them near an evergreen tree. It’s that simple.”

Critics argue Operation Wingstrike is a complete waste of money, as the black and white pests will eventually find their way back into the city.

“Three kms to a bird is nothing,” says Michael Prestegard, director of the Western Canadian Ornithological Society. “They’ll have moved back into the city by the end of the week.”

But officials with the Animal Services say they will erect signs forbidding the birds from re-entering the city.

“If they feel unwelcome, they will not come back,” says Susan Tse with the City of Calgary Animal Services.

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