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Territorial magpies prepare to swoop

Magpie Parks and Wildlife

The arrival of spring heralds the bird nesting season and the Department of Parks and Wildlife is reminding people to be on the lookout for swooping magpies.

Wildlife officer Karen Smith said the department was receiving increased numbers of reports about aggressive magpies.

“Magpies generally nest between August and October and the urge to protect their eggs and young is very strong,” she said.

“Male magpies are territorial and may swoop at people if they think their nest or offspring are being threatened, but they are only doing what comes naturally to them.”

Ms Smith said magpies may swoop anyone they perceive to be a threat and clack their beak as they pass overhead.

“Although this can be alarming, if you confidently continue on your way, the bird will often retreat to a tree and watch until you leave its territory,” she said.

“Tall trees provide the perfect environment for magpie nests and the best way to avoid being swooped is to find an alternative route around their breeding sites for the six to eight weeks that magpies usually defend their nests.”

The department advised people not to look towards swooping magpies or throw rocks or sticks at the birds, as this would only exacerbate their attacks.

“We also encourage people to protect themselves by wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses to conceal their face and eyes,” she said.

Ms Smith said if you are swooped while riding a bike, consider dismounting and walking through the area.


If a magpie poses a serious safety risk to people, a dangerous fauna licence may be issued to destroy the bird.


If you are concerned about aggressive magpies in your area, contact the department’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.


Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999




Last modified on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 09:12