Seasonal problem drops in

TERROR in the sky has once again swooped on the Bundaberg region, leaving plenty of residents in a flap

With magpie season now in full flight, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service-trained magpie remover Roy McGrath has been busy.

Mr McGrath said swooping coincides with nesting season, as fathers try to protect their offspring.

“It's only the male bird protecting its territory,” he said.

Mr McGrath is called out to several jobs each season for council, as well as those for the public, and there is a stringent system in place.

“All birds I trap I've got to assess first,” he said.

Mr McGrath said birds are assessed and what happens to the birds depends on that assessment - they can be returned to where they came from (for example, after nesting season is over), or relocated.

“You must relocate to at least 50km as the crow flies, and not to an area already inhabited (by other birds),” he said.

“When I find the nest, if the chicks are sitting in the nest fully-feathered, ready to fledge, I'll leave them alone - he's (the father) busy feeding them.”

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said the magpie breeding season lasts until December, with a peak from late August to October.

Ms Jones had a few tips on how to help minimise the chances of injury from a magpie.

“One strategy cyclists have found useful is to attach large cable ties to the back of their helmet - use two plastic cable ties of any colour, sticking up like antennae,” she said.

Lillian Sariman and her cycling-keen son Kenneth will have to put up with the swooping for now.

“We only bought the bike two weeks ago, with the intention that he could ride it to school,” she said.

“Since he's got the bike the magpie's been there, so he's not looking forward to riding to school.”

Mr McGrath also has permits to remove possums and snakes, he can be telephoned on 4128 0262.

WHAT NOT TO DO The Environmental Protection Agency has these tips: • Never deliberately provoke or harass a magpie - it will only make them more defensive. • Avoid areas where magpies are known to swoop. • Find the bird and keep watching it when entering a magpie territory. If swooped on, don't crouch in fear or stop - move on quickly but don't run. • Bike riders - dismount and walk through nesting magpie territory, wear a helmet, and fit an orange traffic flag.

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