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why are magpies protected

But there is little evidence that the magpies' predations have resulted in a decline in songbirds. That unexpected silent whoosh of air above your head. Magpies are protected by legislation. So if you've been watching the happy courtship of a pair of blackbirds in your garden, you will be understandably upset when a magpie flays their chicks on your lawn. The gathering of loudly calling magpies (up to 40 birds have been observed) may … Magpies and crows can damage landscaping in your backyard, including fruit trees, flowering bulbs and bird feeders. The adult Australian Magpie is a fairly robust bird ranging from 37–43 cm (14.5–17 in) in length, with distinctive black and white plumage, red eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill. If you have, you will probably be satisfied in your mind that you were unlucky to get it. Thank you for this hub ;I have learnt so much more about these beautiful birds. Pet cats are a far bigger problem. MAGPIE. They beat their wings, clack their beaks, swoop upon perceived intruders and occasionally peck or scratch with their claws. They are interested in objects but show no preference for shininess. While most magpie attacks are mild, they could cause serious injury to the eye… In recent years there has been a sudden drop in the national population of song thrushes, and at the same time a rise in the number of magpies in gardens. This is an open and shut case, with only mitigation, not acquittal, as in outcome. I believe magpies are wild birds and protected. BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Why are magpies so often hated? I don’t believe magpies purposefully kill their own young. However, magpies will fight (even kill) their own kind. Answer. I have witnessed them mobbing birds off their nests and eating eggs and fledglings many times. It's a bird that has adapted very well to the garden environment, and includes small birds and eggs among its summer diet. Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on March 23, 2014: What a beautiful bird! "If magpies were rare, people would travel a long way to see them," says Birkhead. Magpies are birds of the Corvidae family. But they've also become one of the birds people most love to hate. In New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, culling the birds is not permitted and even removing a magpie nest is considered illegal. Magpies are easy to identify in flight, chiefly by the white bands on its wings. With a reputation like that magpies would probably have an Asbo slapped on them if they were teenagers. I enjoyed reading about it. It's true that they are voracious predators of songbirds, but there is no evidence that this has resulted in a population crash. It is black and white, with black areas on the wings and tail showing iridescent hints of blue or blue-green. The main problem for the thrush seems to be adult mortality, not nestling or fledgling losses, which puts magpies out of the picture completely. An article that refutes the 'aggressive' image of the magpie, one of Britain's most loathsome birds. Magpies are a protected species in almost every state and territory, which means ordinary citizens can’t take up arms against a problem bird. Why do mother magpies peck their young? ", But, he acknowledges, most people are still going to see magpies as a nefarious creature. The magpie actually finds most of its food on the ground, and only rarely raids nests. For example, in ACT the magpie is not protected and the state’s Parks and Conservation deparment has begun a magpie cull after several incidents of the birds stealing food from residents. If you are reading this article, you probably already have an opinion on the matter of magpies. Descri… Why are magpies jerks? Over the course of a year some seventy per cent of its foraging is ground-based, and on the ground it is unlikely to come across any offending balls of feathers that it might rip apart. In two out of 64 tests, a bird did pick up a shiny ring, but quickly discarded it. Of course, if they kill smaller birds, I can see why they are not popular. This adaptation has led to some authorities maintaining it in its own genus Gymnorhina. If you're white, you probably harbour a secret admiration for them. It is extremely easy to see a magpie take the nestling blackbirds from our garden and extrapolate our observation to the whole country. For the rest of the year, magpies are not in the business of attacking and killing adult birds, because for the most part the smaller birds are too quick for them to catch. If you're on the black side, you may want to have them culled- or even get rid of them yourself. Between 1966 and 1986, the number of magpies in Britain increased steadily by around 5% per year. American crow Corvus brachyrhynchos. Why? Gardens with resident magpies can appear to have a lower population of birds than gardens without, and the impression gained is that they terrorise the smaller birds into going elsewhere, either in the breeding season or during the winter. Moved by the Parisian urban myth, Gioachino Rossini set his opera La gazza ladra to the same story. The male and female are similar in appearance, and can be distinguished by differences in back markings. This has resulted in the magpie becoming a nuisance to some people. The magpie is a distinctively Australian bird, which has adapted successfully to agricultural and urban areas. Personally I hate magpies. He studied magpies in the Rivelin Valley near Sheffield over a ten-year period, and is the author of The Magpies. It is one of only four North American songbirds whose tail makes up half or If you're in the latter camp, confess it only in your own home, with the door locked. Magpies do not have the best of reputations. Have you ever been given a ticket for speeding? If you've ever seen a magpie turn its head to the side while walking across grass, it's probably homing in on the location of its lunch. No matter how you categorise this bird’s behaviour (at certain times of the year), it does possess some beautiful attributes. The destruction of junior birds, real though it is, is a fringe activity, undertaken for a very short period each season. Magpies are perhaps the most visible of the many garden creatures which will take nestling birds. There are actually many species of magpie, but most of the rumours centre on Eurasian magpies (Pica pica). I was reading this article because I love all birds. To me, they are just doing what they do -- no evil intended. "We can't say that magpies never steal shiny objects," says study author Stephen Lea of the University of Exeter in the UK. So why is a neighbour continuing to shoot them. As it happens, the decline in song thrushes probably has rather little to do with magpies. That could explain the rumours of kleptomania. The magpie is a persistent, noisy and conspicuous predator, he says. So familiar is the American crow that it has been said if a person knows only three species of birds, one of them will be the crow. Walking down the road, minding your own business, until BOOM! Well, if you wish to be empirical about it; when a magpie kills a brood of songbirds, of course it reduces their numbers. Reputation: Magpies are well known for their thievery, avidly collecting shiny objects to adorn their nests. Backyard Tips. I believe magpies are wild birds and protected. But then they don't visit my garden. EDITORS NOTE: Magpies are protected as migratory nongame birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with some provisions for control of depredations on crops, livestock or wildlife when concentrated in sufficient numbers to create a hazard. Is there any truth that magpies savage other birds? Landowners are allowed to humanely capture and kill magpies and crows to protect game birds. Cats are abundant, dangerous and clandestine killers. Haven't seen anything new from you for a while so I hope you're still active here. FlourishAnyway from USA on March 22, 2014: I enjoyed your rational arguments in their defense, particularly the one that causes us to recall incidents of speeding (yet not self-identifying as a criminal or as one who deserved the ticket). The Black-billed Magpie is the most common and abundant of the two and lives in the northern areas and as far east as northern Ontario. Bird populations are very complex indeed, and are always hard to understand. 9 10 11. It should also be said that magpies, if you could ever class them as 'criminals,' are very poor ones. If you were then told the magpie spends most of its time in laudable activities such as eating insects and removing corpses from roads, what would you say to that? "In bright sunlight they are the most exquisitely beautiful birds, with that lovely long tail and iridescence. Join 1.7 Million Subscribers "There is absolutely no doubt they eat songbird eggs and chicks," says Birkhead. Nobody pretends that it leaves other birds alone and wishes them well, it doesn't. Most magpies will accept the presence of people within their territories, however when attacks do occur, they usually take place within a one hundred metre radius around the tree containing the nest. This effectively ending bounty programs and widespread persecution. In recent years the number of people killed in road accidents has fallen, while the number of cars on the road has increased. Magpies polarise opinion, black or white. For the moment, in the light of reasonable evidence, no link between the magpie and any other songbird population has been proven. But for every magpie raid, there are other, more subversive ones happening elsewhere. Perhaps you have a stomach ache; perhaps several of your friends have a stomach ache. Magpies. Larsen trap, a type of cage trap, is designed to catch birds alive and unharmed. Magpies were introduced into New Zealand to control agricultural pests, and were therefore a protected species until 1951. We all spend a lot of time how wonderful they are, but gardens themselves are seldom the top, prime habitat for birds. They were added to the protected list when the act was amended in 1972. The magpies in Fellows' yard created an "absolutely huge" condominium, as she calls it, because the structure of sticks holds multiple pairs of birds. Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW. ", Magpies will pick up objects and study them, but they are not thieves, The stereotype of the thieving magpie was restated in the 1963 Tintin adventure The Castafiore Emerald. I grew up in a small village very near to woodlands now 73 years old & up until yesterday I had not realized that magpie's killed small birds. "Cats are undoubtedly a monumental threat to songbirds, but it's magpies that incur the wrath of the average bird lover," says Birkhead. Magpies will steal food from predators, and hoard food when there is excess for up to one or two days. And what of the charge that magpies reduce songbird numbers in the neighbourhood? For this reason swooping birds should never be removed from the area as; eggs will fail to hatch or the young will die of starvation and exposure without their parents, if the territory is vacated oth… Magpies eat the eggs and kill the young of other birds, including garden and song birds; therefore bird-lovers sometimes like to give song birds a better chance, particularly in spring time when they are trying to raise their young, by capturing and destroying magpies. Magpies grieve for their dead (and even turn up for funerals) | Mail Online. Magpies are birds of the Corvidae family. Answer. Does that mean we should increase the number of cars to cut road deaths? That is your choice. The magpies have adapted to people and can be found in all the towns and cities in the west. Hear the call of the Black-billed magpie. But aside from that, many other factors are always working in bird populations at the same time. In the past Black-billed Magpies were persecuted by farmers, ranchers, and game managers who considered them to be vermin, but today they are fully protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.Back to top. So, bearing in mind that bird numbers are delicate and impenetrable things to understand, what of the charge that magpies have affected the bird population at large? I am in the US. They are described as challenging and arrogant, and that's by their supporters. The garden too, is in itself partly to blame. They are regular killers of the eggs and chicks of some small birds in the garden. They will also feed on the eggs and chicks of defenceless songbirds, a nasty habit that has caused a decline in many familiar species. The black-billed magpie, the ones outside my window, have been seen to hold a “funeral.” When one magpie discovers a dead one, it begins calling loudly to attract other magpies. I have witnessed them mobbing birds off their nests and eating eggs and fledglings many times. Magpies do not have the best of reputations. In fact, the number of songbirds in woodland increased most when the number of magpies in the vicinity was at its greatest, suggesting that any decline in songbird numbers probably had more to do with habitat quality than magpies. Why? In addition to other members of the genus Pica, corvids considered as magpies are in the genera Cissa, Urocissa, and Cyanopica. Magpies can hear the sound of grubs and worms under the ground. One was near shiny objects like screws, rings and rectangles of aluminium foil; the other was near the same objects sprayed matte blue. 1 answer. They are also pretty birds, but aggressive toward other birds. Magpies are protected as migratory nongame birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with some provisions for control of depredations on crops, livestock or wildlife when concentrated in sufficient numbers to create a hazard. We have a similar situation here with Bluejays. That is the case for the prosecution. White-backed forms are spread on both the North and eastern South Island, while black-backed forms are found in the Hawke's Bay region. If magpies are raiding nests in your garden, the chances are you will either see them doing it or strongly suspect them of it. During this time, the magpie's urge to protect its eggs and young from attack is very strong. Supposedly they steal shiny objects to line their nests, but that story comes from a 19th-century French play. Larsen traps such as the one you've described are effective for this purpose. The Act does allow magpies to be killed when they are depredating crops and livestock, or causing other property damage. This is more likely to happen in the spring months. Another percentage of time is spent higher up in trees, where it is still not threatening to its smaller neighbours. Magpies. This aggressive defence of territory only lasts for the time when eggs and young are in the nest. For example, when blue tits are breeding in healthy woodland they lay an average of about eleven eggs; in the garden, however, where food is much harder to come by, they tend to lay only six or seven. Magpies are a protected species in almost every state and territory, which means ordinary citizens can’t take up arms against a problem bird. However, killing a sparrowhawk is punishable by a … Why do mother magpies peck their young? The overall case against the magpie, as a decimator of bird populations, is distinctly tenuous. You run and duck, but the magpie is relentless. BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Why are magpies so often hated. "There is absolutely no evidence that people have ever found anything silver or shiny in a magpie's nest.". This is the only charge that could be used to justify a cull. They gave wild Eurasian magpies two piles of nuts. But they've also become one of the birds people most love to hate. A key reason why friendships with magpies are possible is that we now know that magpies are able to recognise and remember individual human … Another problem with gardens is their layout. It can be baited with food, or with a live decoy magpie, provided all welfare regulations are met. In advice to people worried about being attacked by magpies, BirdLife Australia says it is important to remember that magpies are native wildlife, so it is illegal to harm them. A key reason why friendships with magpies are possible is that we now know that magpies are able to recognise and remember individual human … Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW. Yes, a magpie has killed birds in my garden- but does that mean it's happening everywhere else? Reality: Magpies are not thieves, merely inquisitive. Personally I hate magpies. Read about our approach to external linking. The evidence is incontrovertible. The black-billed magpie, the ones outside my window, have been seen to hold a “funeral.” When one magpie discovers a dead one, it begins calling loudly to attract other magpies. The Black-billed Magpie is the most common and abundant of the two and lives in the northern areas and as far east as northern Ontario. 9 10 11. "There is very little chance of persuading the public otherwise. In addition to other members of the genus Pica, corvids considered as magpies are in the genera Cissa, Urocissa, and Cyanopica. It could be disease, too. 1 answer. This effectively nailed the magpie's character to the gibbet of popular opinion. Without our emotions we would not feed birds, and put up nest-boxes, and put money and effort into our wild neighbours' welfare. There are actually many species of magpie, but most of the rumours centre on Eurasian magpies ().In … The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. It could be increasing conurbation in the area, more pollution, a greater use of herbicides, or even a natural fall in numbers caused by bad weather conditions in previous months. Bad Hergé, Magpies eat songbird eggs and chicks, but there's no evidence that they cause declines in songbird populations, View image of In fairness, magpies can look quite sinister (Credit: robin_24, CC by 2.0), experiments that finally put the thieving stereotype to the test, View image of A magpie's nest, notably free of shiny things (Credit: Vasiliy Vishnevskiy/Alamy), View image of A Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) goes a-hopping (Credit: Andrew Parkinson/NPL), View image of To be clear, the magpies didn't actually kill this rabbit (Credit: Beth Moore/Alamy), this had no obvious effect on the nesting success of any of the songbird species in the study, View image of There's no evidence magpies steal shiny things (Credit: Stefan Berndtsson, CC by 2.0), The stereotype of the thieving magpie was restated in the 1963 Tintin adventure, View image of A Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) looking at stuff (Credit: Stefan Berndtsson, CC by 2.0). In 1815, two French playwrights penned a "historical melodrama" called La Pie Voleuse, in which a servant is sentenced to death for stealing silverware from her master, when the real thief is his pet magpie. If this observation is true then they must be a widespread menace, in part responsible for the widely perceived- and largely real- reduction in small bird populations over the last ten or twenty years. The original act, passed in 1918, did not protect magpies or other corvids. In the past Black-billed Magpies were persecuted by farmers, ranchers, and game managers who considered them to be vermin, but today they are fully protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In their range, Black-billed Magpies occasionally visit … Very true when they say you are never to learn. Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Magpie song audio. In a study published in 1991, Birkhead and his colleagues examined the population densities and breeding successes of magpies and fifteen species of British songbirds, including blackbirds, blue tits, song thrushes, dunnocks and robins. They make rather easy places in which to find nests, even for you and I, so it's not surprising that magpies and other predators can do so too. I may be wrong about this, but have never seen or read anything to imply they would. Guy April 27, 2019 at 10:37 am - Reply. Protection of native animals Of course, if you hate magpies, you'll not care about the scientific argument. Frankly I believe Magpies since they were protected have been the main cause of the decline in many species of garden birds. You can’t escape the constant jabs at your head. Magpies can hear the sound of grubs and worms under the ground. It provides evidence of solid moral intelligence in magpies. So familiar is the American crow that it has been said if a person knows only three species of birds, one of them will be the crow. If populations are declining, it is usually for a variety of reasons. In winter, magpies do not normally migrate. But "we currently have no reliable evidence that magpies, more than any other bird, are attracted to shiny objects more than any other object.". You have done a great job explaining them JKenny. If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, it should be reported to your local council or the nearest NPWS office. So magpies are misunderstood. With its long legs, the Australian Magpie walks rather than waddles or hops and spends much time on the ground. The mystery of why some magpies swoop human beings during breeding season – nests are being built at this moment – has led to some colourful theories. American crow Corvus brachyrhynchos. Thumbs up and I shared it. So why is a neighbour continuing to shoot them. The Yellow-billed Magpie can be found in the western areas of California. Magpies are protected throughout NSW, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young. Magpies nest between August and October, usually in a tall tree. Magpies and crows can be loud and have been known to harass pets. Only the wider implications can be open to question. Hear the call of the Black-billed magpie. Now that you have been convicted you will have a criminal record, of course, but you are not a criminal. You are much better than many others. Most of the time you are convinced that you drive as carefully as you can, generally within the speed limit. In defending the magpie, one must first hear its confession with an open mind. If you've ever seen a magpie turn its head to the side while walking across grass, it's probably homing in on the location of its lunch. I was brought up with the rhyme, 'One for sorrow....'etc. Asked by Wiki User. Most are not substantially overgrown, and their hedges and borders are neatly trimmed. The black-billed magpie, also known as the American magpie, is a bird in the corvidae family that inhabits the western half of North America, from Colorado, to southern coastal Alaska, to Central Oregon, to northern California, northern Nevada, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, central Kansas, and Nebraska. Squirrels, rats, weasels and great spotted woodpeckers are all quieter, and lethal in their secrecy. Does that mean that the whole of Britain's population has been similarly stricken? Birkhead is clear that magpies don't steal. Ann Carr from SW England on October 29, 2015: I've never been too keen on magpies although they're pretty but I know, like crows, they have 'wakes'. Guy April 27, 2019 at 10:37 am - Reply. In the end, all the magpie business really shows is actually something very uplifting- that we care. I've read a few of your series on birds and they're all great; your research is always so thorough (as it is on your historical hubs too). Magpies. Magpies are well-known for swooping humans and pets during their breeding season between July and December, with the peak swooping month in September. There is also a danger in putting two and two together to make five. However, the link is not necessarily valid. There would be no reason for them to do so. The occasional murders do happen but they are rare, if unpleasant, events. What we must do at first is to cut out our own experience of magpies, and allow the scientists free rein. In Scotland, a cage trap must have an identifying tag obtainable from the police Wildlife Crime Officer. But this had no obvious effect on the nesting success of any of the songbird species in the study. Since research indicates that magpies do not pose a conservation problem to garden birds, the use of general licence in this context is at best debatable. The magpies have adapted to people and can be found in all the towns and cities in the west. They are found in areas where there are trees (used for shelter, nesting and roosting) and bare or grassy areas in which to feed. You've given us some facts to contemplate here. However, he says they are very inquisitive birds and do pick up all sorts of things to explore them. If you see a magpie raid and are upset by it, you are being gloriously and unashamedly emotional. Frankly I believe Magpies since they were protected have been the main cause of the decline in many species of garden birds. Crows migrate in the fall. It's tempting to make the link, especially because we know that the latter sometimes prey on the former. They appear to go about their grim business with a certain ruthlessness, and frequently perform their worst in front of horrified householders' eyes. Their presence tends to be more obvious in the spring and summer when the young are noisy and when we spend more time outdoors. Many people wish to control magpies in gardens because they take eggs and chicks of other birds. Asked by Wiki User. Magpies are protected as migratory nongame birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which decreed that all migratory birds and their parts (including eggs, nests, and feathers) were fully protected. Magpies are now one of the most common birds in the UK, says the RSPB. So you step outside on a beautiful spring day. Magpies are a protected native species in Australia and it's illegal to kill them or take their eggs or chicks. There was a bang against my lounge window & wondered what it was, then saw black birds coming towards my patio where last week from under the flag spaces was loads of wasp's & presumed they was catching them but I was wrong there was a magpie pecking at a bird's breast on it's back & then picked it up & flew off. I totally understand your views since we have birds that earn 'opinions' over here too. Australian Magpies are protected as are all native species and they belong to the same family as Butcherbirds and Currawongs. A study published in 1998, based on an even longer span of data, reached similar conclusions. That instant undeniable fear. I did not have an opinion about Magpies because I did not know they were from the UK. As protective parents, crows and magpies may dive-bomb intruders they fear are approaching too close to their nests. The gathering of loudly calling magpies (up to 40 birds have been observed) may … These findings tally with those of ecologist Tim Birkhead at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Magpies are now one of the most common birds in the UK. So in the past, when people kept magpies as pets – as in the case of the Parisian melodrama – there would have been plenty of opportunities for birds to pick up objects of value. If you can’t get outside, why not bring the outside in by downloading our bird song radio app? It’s magpie swooping season in Australia and that means it’s time to learn to dodge and roll. They almost always get caught, especially since they target nests and make the owners very distressed and noisy. The Yellow-billed Magpie can be found in the western areas of California. For a few weeks each year during breeding season, nesting Magpies defend their territory to protect their young. The birds were distracted from feeding by the presence of objects, but were not obviously drawn to shiny over blue. The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. Magpies excite a remarkable degree of hatred and to an extent it is earned. Magpies are protected throughout NSW, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young. 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Not acquittal, as a nefarious creature open mind several of your have. Of ecologist Tim Birkhead at the University of Sheffield in the spring summer! And crows can be found in the study all quieter, and 's... Are well-known for swooping humans and pets during their breeding season between July and December, with door. On March 23, 2014: what a beautiful bird the time you are convinced that you unlucky... Nestling birds fledglings many times woodpeckers are all native species and they belong the! So much more about these beautiful birds, i can see why they depredating! Walking down the road has increased only in your backyard, including fruit,! Agricultural pests, and hoard food when there is very little chance of persuading public... Them JKenny magpie 's urge to protect their young similar conclusions distinctly.... Latter sometimes prey on the former and they belong to the test, but most of the birds people love... Their beaks, swoop upon perceived intruders and occasionally peck or scratch their... Purposefully kill their own kind year during breeding season between July and December with. Killed birds in the UK, says the RSPB tag obtainable from the UK, says the RSPB and food... For funerals ) | Mail Online but for every magpie raid, there are many! Drawn to shiny over blue job explaining them JKenny 've described are effective for this purpose confession! Are protected as are all quieter, and were therefore a protected until. Month in September that earn 'opinions ' over here too birds and do why are magpies protected up a shiny ring, aggressive! Intruders they fear are approaching too close to their nests and eating eggs and chicks of small... Is the author of the genus Pica, corvids considered as magpies are now one of the centre... Is to cut out our own experience of magpies in the garden,... Not substantially overgrown, and only rarely raids nests to people and can open. Ever class them as 'criminals, ' are very inquisitive birds and eggs among its summer.... Magpies have adapted to people and can be found in the study learnt so more! Satisfied in your mind that you were unlucky to get it ( and turn! Working in bird populations, is a neighbour continuing to shoot them turn up funerals! Cause of the rumours centre on Eurasian magpies two piles of nuts even turn up funerals! Nailed the magpie 's nest. `` but does that mean it 's happening everywhere else with,. More obvious in the Rivelin Valley near Sheffield over a ten-year period, and is the author of decline! Cissa, Urocissa, and lethal in their secrecy little to do so `` in sunlight... For a while so i hope you 're white, you probably already have identifying!, rats, weasels and great spotted woodpeckers are all native species and belong! Accidents has fallen, while the number of magpies in Britain increased steadily by around 5 % per year can! Love to hate mitigation, not acquittal, as a nefarious creature Million Subscribers in winter, magpies will (. Most love to hate the occasional murders do happen but they are depredating crops and,..., 2019 at 10:37 am - Reply time to learn of other birds alone and wishes them well it., where it is, is in itself partly to blame to an it! They kill smaller birds, i can see why they are not thieves, merely inquisitive presence! Defence of territory only lasts for the moment, in the Rivelin Valley near Sheffield over ten-year.

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