Swooping birds can be a frightening experience. Native birds, including Australian Magpies are highly protective of their eggs, nest and young and will often 'swoop‘ unsuspecting passers-by if they feel threatened during their breeding season.
The breeding season for Magpies is between July and December, peaking September to October. Swooping lasts about 6-9 weeks, while the chicks are in the nest.
What can Council do?
Council does investigate complaints regarding nuisance magpies on Council-controlled land and will erect warning signs in the vicinity of the swooping zone if needed. If a magpie presents a significant risk to the public, Council can make an assessment to determine suitability for removal.
For birds swooping from private property the duty of care responsibility rests with the property owner.
To report a problem area, please contact Council on (07) 4992 9500 or complete a Magpie Attack Notfication Form.
Please note that all native birds are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and there are serious penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife, without a Damage Mitigation Permit issued by the Department of Environment and Science.
What can you do?
Like most animals, magpies and other swooping birds instinctively protect their territory, particularly during breeding time. They are protecting their nests, eggs or young from potential intruders. Most birds will swoop within 100 metres of their nest. The likelihood of an attack is increased if they are teased or feel threatened in any way.
There are ways to minimise attacks as follows:
- Avoid the area and notify council so that signs can be erected to warn others
- Find the bird and keep watching it when entering magpie territory.
- If swooped on, don't crouch in fear.
- Move on quickly – but do not run
- Cover your head – wear a hat, helmet or carry an umbrella
- Protect your eyes - wear sunglasses
- Do not harass magpies! – this only gives them more reason to see you as a threat and may increase swooping
- Do not destroy nests – they may rebuild, prolonging the swooping
- Team up with others and travel in a group
Swooping Magpies & other birds hotspots
2018 Season - Updated 24/10/2018
For more information about living with magpies, visit the Department of Environment and Science website.