IT’S magpie breeding season in Queensland and Bundaberg residents need to be aware of some practical tips to stay safe this season.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said magpies were notorious for swooping between July and November, with swooping usually ceasing once the chicks have left the nest.

“Almost all swoops at people are carried out by male magpies defending their nests and chicks from cyclists riding past or people walking nearby,” she said.

“It’s important to be aware of the potential for this to occur and to make sure children in particular are equipped with some simple tips to stay safe and alert during magpie season.”

Five tips to avoid magpie swooping:

Magpies swooping are the bane of the  postman.
Magpies swooping are the bane of the postman. Kevin Farmer

Consider taking a different route as magpies have relatively small territories.

When magpies swoop passers-by they are simply protecting their nest and young.
When magpies swoop passers-by they are simply protecting their nest and young. Chris Ison

Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses, or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies.

Magpie season is under way with swooping becoming more frequent.
Magpie season is under way with swooping becoming more frequent. Christopher Chan GLA200912MAGP

Cyclists and people riding scooters should dismount in magpie zones as more people are hurt from falling during a magpie swoop than by the magpie itself.

The humble magpie swoops to protect its young.
The humble magpie swoops to protect its young. Contributed

Waving umbrellas above your head, or attaching a bright coloured flag to a pole higher than the helmet.

Pied Currawong’s are much friendlier than Magpies and won’t swoop.
Pied Currawong’s are much friendlier than Magpies and won’t swoop. Dave Curtis

Never approach a young magpie.

If a magpie becomes aggressive and is a risk to human safety, in some instances, it may be removed by a licensed wildlife relocator.

This is a commercial service and a fee is usually charged, typically paid by the complainant or landowner.

Ms Donaldson said this is also a timely opportunity to remind Bundaberg locals that in Queensland all native birds, reptiles and amphibians are protected under the Nature Conservation Act.

This includes the magpie.

Mapgpies remember faces, says expert

Birdlife Bundaberg president Nev Capell said they were no birdbrains.

“They’re very intelligent birds,” Mr Capell said.

“Magpies remember faces.

“If they’ve attacked you before they’re likely to do it again.”

Mr Capell said magpies were choosy about who they attacked.

“We’ve got magpies at the end of our street, and they’ve never swooped on us,” he said.

“But they do swoop on some of the kids in the street.”

Mr Capell said the breeding season, when magpies were out protecting their nests and chicks, started about the middle of last month.

“They normally breed in spring,” he said.

“It’s a little warmer here so they start earlier than they would down south.”

Further information can be found at http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/livingwith/magpie_safe.



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