When Magpies attack!

1 September, 2017Posted in: Environment

Magpie, canstockphoto©

Springtime may herald new blooms and blossoms but for much of our native birdlife it also signals the start of nesting season.

Magpies in particular can become more aggressive than usual as their new season young hatch.

However surviving the magpie swooping season needn’t be a nightmare says Wingecarribee Shire Council Environmental Projects Officer Joe Stammers.

“Swooping is a natural behaviour for many of our native birds like plovers and magpies when springtime rolls around,” Joe said.  “Like any protective parent the birds are just trying to shield their young from perceived threats to the nest.”

“And unfortunately during nesting season the birds see us humans as threats.”

Nesting season takes place during the spring months with swooping attacks typically peaking during the month of September.

“September is also the month we field the most calls from residents,” Joe added.  “Our advice is that the behavior is only temporary and will cease once the chicks have ‘flown the nest’.

“In the interim we recommend a few simple tips to help avoid their airborne raids.”

These include:

  • Not deliberately provoking or harassing the birds,
  • Taking alternate routes where possible,
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or carry an open umbrella for protection,
  • If riding a bike wear a helmet and sunglasses, and
  • Fit a flag to your bike.

“But by far the best advice we can suggest is to avoid known hot-spots,” Joe said.

“Otherwise make sure you always walk with someone slower than yourself!”

“But in all seriousness, while we can all share a joke about a near-miss, it’s important to remember that on very rare occasions more serious injuries can occur so it is important to try and minimise contact.”

Magpies are protected throughout NSW and it is an offence to kill the birds, collect their eggs or harm their young.

Reports of serious menace should be reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) on phone 4887 7270.