News and media statements

All Parks and Wildlife Service news items and media statements produced after mid-August 2019 are available on the new departmental website .

Territorial magpies prepare to swoop

Territorial magpies prepare to swoop


The Department of Parks and Wildlife is reminding people to be on the lookout for swooping magpies, after receiving 50 reports during the past six weeks from concerned Perth residents who had encountered aggressive magpies.

Wildlife officer Emma Lipianin said magpies were most active as summer approached.

“Magpies generally nest between August and October and during this time 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 when defending their young ones.

“They rely largely on intimidating anyone they see as a threat by flying low and fast over them, and will often clack their bill as they pass overhead.

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

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

“People should not look towards swooping magpies and they should ensure that children do not throw rocks or sticks at the birds as this will 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.”

Ms Lipianin said if you are swooped while riding a bike consider attaching cable ties to your helmet as a deterrent.

“Alternatively, dismount and walk your bike through the area as this can also help.”

“If a magpie poses a serious safety risk to people, a dangerous fauna licence may be issued to remove 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, 14 October 2014 11:29