Spring is just around the corner and so is the annual humans versus magpies stand-off. Central Highlands Regional Council reminds people that avoiding conflict is, in this case, the best course of action for peaceful coexistence.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said the often-offensive swooping attacks by male magpies are a natural behaviour to protect their nest and chicks during breeding season.
‘Thankfully only a small proportion of magpies become aggressive and attack people when protecting their nest,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘But we’ve all heard stories or even experienced the swooping attack of a magpie, the best way is to simply avoid entering the territory of an aggressive magpie, which usually extends 150m around their nest tree.
‘If you must walk or cycle near an aggressive magpie’s nest, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses, travel in groups, hold something above your head, dismount your bike and attach cable ties to helmets.
Mayor Hayes encouraged people to use the national crowd-sourced magpie alert map on www.magpiealert.com
‘Add swooping incidents to the map and check the map for any aggressive birds on your usual routes.’
Particularly aggressive birds may be reported to council on 1300 242 686, but rangers will only remove birds at last resort or if they have caused injury.
‘Studies have shown that when a male magpie is removed, another male will often take on the role of defending the female and chicks, so removal is not very effective.
‘It’s simply best to avoid the conflict and council’s parks and gardens crews attempt to spray-paint warning signs on the footpaths near problem areas where possible to help.’
Magpie breeding season lasts until late October but can extend to December. For more information and tips on staying safe from swooping magpies, visit www.ehp.qld.gov.au