Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen - Babs and Bert Wells
Australian magpie.
Photo – Babs and Bert Wells/DBCA

The magpie is a distinctively Australian bird, which has adapted successfully to agricultural and urban areas. Magpies are protected by legislation.

Magpies nest between August and October, usually in a tall tree. During this time, the magpie's urge to protect its eggs and young from attack is very strong. Magpies rely largely on intimidating human intruders. They fly low and fast over the person and often clack their bill as they pass overhead. This can be alarming, but the bird will often retreat to a tree and watch until you leave its territory. Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a simple and effective form of protection. Adopting a confident or threatening stance towards the bird also has a strong deterrent effect. If the problem is on a route to school, children should use a different route during the short period the magpie is aggressive.

Removing the magpie or its nest is illegal and may cause nestlings to starve or freeze to death, or result in breakdown of the magpie tribe with further repercussions on surrounding territories and flocks. Such actions may temporarily stop attacks, but it is not uncommon for the magpie to start rebuilding immediately, so the problem starts all over again. Often it is better to live with the bird for 6-8 weeks until the problem ceases.

However, if you find that none of these solutions is sufficient, you can contact your nearest Parks and Wildlife Service office.

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