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Magpies are found across much of Eurasia south to Iran, the Himalayas and southern China, and in North Africa , Asia Minor, southern Saudi Arabia and western North America south to central California. In Britain they are found throughout except in the northwest of mainland Scotland and the northern and western isles.
    In Great Britain an increasing emphasis on game preservation resulted in Magpies being extensively poisoned and shot
from the late 18th century onwards so that by the end of the 19th century this previously common species was even thought to be  in danger of possible extinction. Thereafter however the downward trend leveled off over the period of the two world wars and then, during the second half of the 20th century, showed a steady increase in numbers until the late 1980s after which the population stablised.
    In Wiltshire in the late 19th century they were said to be generally detested and ruthlessly destroyed. Reduced to the extent of being considered uncommon at the turn of the century, they then followed the national upward trend throughout the 20th century. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them in 848 of the county's 915 tetrads, with breeding recorded in 505 of them. There has been a marginal decrease since then (WTA2 recorded them in 836 tetrads with breeding in 421).

References
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.Magpies are found across much of Eurasia south to Iran, the Himalayas and southern China, and in North Africa , Asia Minor, southern Saudi Arabia and western North America south to central California. In Britain they are found throughout except in the northwest of mainland Scotland and the northern and western isles.
    In Great Britain an increasing emphasis on game preservation resulted in Magpies being extensively poisoned and shot
from the late 18th century onwards so that by the end of the 19th century this previously common species was even thought to be  in danger of possible extinction. Thereafter however the downward trend leveled off over the period of the two world wars and then, during the second half of the 20th century, showed a steady increase in numbers until the late 1980s after which the population stablised.
    In Wiltshire in the late 19th century they were said to be generally detested and ruthlessly destroyed. Reduced to the extent of being considered uncommon at the turn of the century, they then followed the national upward trend throughout the 20th century. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them in 848 of the county's 915 tetrads, with breeding recorded in 505 of them. There has been a marginal decrease since then (WTA2 recorded them in 836 tetrads with breeding in 421).
References
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
“1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
“1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
“1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
“Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
“WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.

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