Council Swoops With Magpie Policy

Filed in Recent News by October 31, 2019

WHAT could be more Australian than a species of bird which attacks cats?

But if the array of contraptions invented by innovative Australian people are not deterring a magpie in your neighbourhood, the Council encourages residents to report the feathered dive bomber.

Dr Darryl Jones, behavioural ecologist at Griffith University said only 10 percent of magpies attack and he has some strategies for surviving spring swooping.

“Of that about half of them target pedestrians,” Dr Jones said.

“The remaining half go for either cyclists or posties and there’s a very, very small group of magpies that just attack everybody,” he said.

“People think that come spring all magpies will attack you, but it’s only when chicks are in the nest and only when you’re near the nest,” Dr Jones said.

Dr Jones explained magpies are able to recognise people by facial features, remember people who regularly pass through their territory and distinguish between those different people.

Anecdotal evidence in the editor’s neighbourhood suggests people who befriend magpies outside of the swooping season with food, are recognised and allowed to pass without dive bombing during spring.

A common piece of advice is to wear a wide-brimmed hat, protect eyes with sunglasses, carry an umbrella and face an attacking magpie as they tend to attack from behind.

Cyclists are advised to dismount to avoid falling off and to walk quickly, not run.

People need to remain calm as flapping about appears like aggressive behavior and can provoke further attacks.

Other lines of defense include spiky things attached to bike helmets, waving a stick, or simply avoiding the nesting area.

Report problem magpies to Council or register it on: Magpie Alert.

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