Spring has sprung and the swooping has begun.
As the weather warms up and the flowers start blooming, residents are being warned to watch out for protective magpies during breeding season.
Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes said swooping was a natural behaviour, typically performed by the male magpie to defend their nest and chicks.
‘For most of the year people and magpies happily co-exist, sharing open space and backyards, but come breeding season, the safety of a magpie’s young becomes its primary concern,’ he said.
‘Only a small proportion of magpies become aggressive and attack people when protecting their nest and the area around it.
‘It’s best to try and avoid walking or cycling close to areas where there is an aggressive bird.’
The Department of Environment and Science suggests the following steps to deter swooping:
- Travel in groups.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Hold something above your head, such as an umbrella.
- Dismount your bike when approaching a nest.
- Attach cable ties to helmets.
Cr Hayes reminded residents that council rangers only remove very aggressive birds, particularly those that 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,’ he said.
‘This suggests translocation isn’t a very effective solution and should only be used as a last resort.’
Cr Hayes encouraged residents to report any aggressive magpies to council by calling 1300 242 686.
‘Council’s parks and gardens crews will also post warning signs on the footpaths near identified problem areas where possible,’ Cr Hayes said.
Breeding season usually 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