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How To Stop Magpies Digging Up Your Lawn

If you have seen magpies digging up your lawn, you may have wondered why. In this article, we look at why they do this and how to stop them from destroying your lawn.

Magpies will dig up your lawn to feed on grubs. The most effective method is to reduce the number of grubs in the lawn. Beneficial nematodes will kill ants, fleas, moths, beetles, flies, weevils, and other pests that blackbirds feed on. Ultrasonic animal repellers and sprinklers are an excellent deterrent for scaring magpies away.

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Ultrasonic Bird Repeller

I use a solar-powered flashing light and ultrasonic animal repeller in my garden. They are humane, use no chemicals, and the one I use is waterproof with a range of up to 20 feet. I recommend this solar animal repeller, as it works well.

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  • BEST SELLING sonic bird repeller; We recommend using the product for at least 3 weeks, not for one hour or one day
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  • Covers up to 1-acre of property with fully customizable settings
  • Version 2 repels Crows, Blackbirds, Grackles, Cormorants, & Ravens

Grub Killer

For an effective grub killer, I have started using Lawnbox grubout. It lasts all season with one application and is 100% organic to give you a healthy lawn.

Motion-activated Sprinkler

You can consider using a motion-activated water sprinkler to act as a deterrent to scare them away. Magpies and other animals are afraid of the sudden movement and spray of the water. I haven’t used one of these myself, but my friend loves his. You can find it on Amazon here.

There are two species of magpie in North America. Magpies aren’t found on the east coast but can be found along the western coast and central states and territories. The yellow-billed magpie is the rarer of the two and can be found mainly in California. The black-billed magpie can be found in northern areas and up into Canada.

They can be found year-round as they are hardy birds with thick coats. They are black, white, and blue with long-tail feathers and distinctive calls.

Their favorite foods are grubs, which is why they are digging up your lawn.

You can find magpies around suburban and urban areas. This is the reason why people regard them as pests. They can cause a lot of harm to gardens as they eat plants and dig in the lawn for insects. 


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How To Stop Magpies From Digging Your Lawn?

As we have already stated, magpies can cause some severe damage to your lawn as they search for food. If you are sure magpies are causing the damage, it is best to stop them. One of the best and the most effective ways of keeping magpies from damaging your lawn is to take away the underlying cause.

By realizing they are after food growing inside the lawn and the soil, you can remove the cause. Reduce the number of grubs using Lawnbox grubout. Once the grubs have been removed, you also need to take other actions to ensure magpies will not return. 

Removing other food sources such as pet food left outside will stop blackbirds from returning, and purchasing a bird-proof feeder may also help.

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Why Do Magpies Dig Up My Lawn?

Magpies can destroy your lawn quickly. The main reason why they invade your yard is in search of food.

They are likely to dig in your lawn looking for insects to eat. They usually target larval insects, and they can overturn large sections of the grass when feeding.

Other animals that may also dig holes in your lawn include raccoons and squirrels. Raccoons will dig holes in your yard searching for food, while squirrels will dig up your grass to bury food. The ultrasonic animal repellent works well on all of these animals.

Some of the most common grubs symptoms in your lawn will be drying grass, two to three inches in diameter, and appearances of brown spots on the lawn.

The main reason your lawn is being dug up is that there are plenty of grubs. These are the larvae stage of a beetle that serves as a rich source of proteins for magpies and many other animals.

The grubs have brown heads and white or grey bodies. They are always an attraction to magpies, which can end up causing a lot of damage to your lawn.

They are likely to destroy grass around these areas, so you have to do something to stop them from coming around your home.

Most animals that dig up your lawn, including blackbirds, will be looking for worms, insects, and grubs. If animals are digging up your lawn, you most likely have a grub problem.

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Which Animal Is Digging?

The first way to determine the animals is to observe the type of holes. Moles will create tunnels and mounds, but magpies will flip over small sections of turf. Magpies are looking for food, while moles are looking for food and shelter. Magpies can destroy your lawn quickly, especially if there are enough of them.

Many animals can cause the same problem. However, if you suspect that magpies are responsible, you have to do something about them. Many gardeners will have an issue with these animals unless something is done to reduce the number of grubs. 

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How Many Grubs Are Too Many?

A healthy lawn always has a certain number of grubs. A lawn can host up to 5 grubs in every square foot. For example, a lawn of 5,000 square feet can be home to up to 25,000 grubs.

It would be difficult to kill all the grubs, and they do so much good for your garden and their natural habitat that you probably shouldn’t. 

However, you can take some measures that will minimize the numbers significantly. Experts advise that killing all the grubs is very difficult, even if you use harsh chemicals. 

The best action to minimize bugs growing is to use a natural suppression treatment to minimize food for magpies. One of the best controls is the use of organic grub control.


There are no guarantees that you will be able to stop magpies from landing in your garden completely using any of the above methods. However, a combination of the above techniques will minimize the damage to your garden and reduce the number of blackbirds invading your property significantly. 

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