Bye bye birdie – Magpie flies the coop at Edmonton's Royal Alexander hospital

A magpie that took up residence in the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s six-storey atrium last month has finally flown the coop.

The bird flew into the hospital through an open door last month and refused to leave, eluding pest control and a baited trap.

“A lot of the patients and visitors had become fond of this bird and had taken to feeding it plus there’s usually no shortage of scraps laying around in a public space like the atrium,” said Cliff Richard, the hospital’s director of facilities maintenance and engineering.

“It was well-fed and had no particular inclination to go into that trap.”

While the bird’s squawking, scattered excrement and frequent dive bombing of visitors bothered some, the magpie had its following at the hospital.

“I’m well aware of a number of staff that make a point of looking for it everyday,” Richard said. “He became a bit of a mascot.”

But the magpie departed pretty much in the same way it arrived — on its own terms, though not without the help of hospital plumber Blake Blouin.

“We decided to go up on the roof and prop the doors open and bait him with a little bit of freshly-baked cheese bun out of my lunch,” Blouin said.

The savoury snack proved too much for the wily magpie to resist.

“In the evening time, one of the housekeepers here saw the bird fly out and some of the cheese bun was gone so I assume that worked,” Blouin said.

Staff at the hospital were notified their “mascot” had discharged itself Monday night.

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