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Magpie Advice

Problems experienced with swooping magpies may be reported to WIRES (13 000 WIRES or 1300 094737) or to the National Parkes and Wildlife Service (02 9585 6333).

Large fines and jail terms apply to offenders who capture, damage or kill native fauna.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from July to February with the peak season in August and September. The female makes the nest on her own consisting of a rough basket of sticks in a tree.

They often line it with softer material where she lays 3 to 5 eggs which take around 20 days to hatch.

Females incubate and rear their young unaided to the fledgling stage. During this time the nest is defended by the male who is sometimes assisted by the female to chase off "threats" to the young and its territory.

Once the young have left the nest all members of the group help in educating, protecting, and caring for them.

Magpies and the Law

Magpies are native species to the Bland Shire area and are protected species throughout NSW. It is against the law to;

  • Kill the birds
  • Harm the birds, their eggs or their nests.
  • To capture the birds
  • To remove their eggs from the nest

Large fines and jail terms apply to offenders who capture, damage or kill native fauna. Problems experienced with swooping magpies may be reported to WIRES or the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

It is unlikely that the offending bird will be removed or destroyed as another will simply take its place.

Swooping Magpies

The swooping behaviour of Magpies during their breeding season can be a frightening experience that often causes a flood of complaints. Injuries from this swooping behaviour are rare as the goal of the bird is to chase off the threat whilst protecting itself from undue risk and injury.

Little can be done to prevent the behaviour. It is best simply to be aware and prepared.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Get to know where the birds are breeding in your area and try to avoid them.
  • Be aware that open areas with tall trees are likely sites to encounter the birds
  • Use an umbrella and wear a hat (good for UV protection too).
  • If the area is unavoidable, ensure you escort young children through any hot spots.
  • The birds are less likely to swoop while you are watching them ( putting some big eyes on the back of your hat helps).
  • If you are riding a bike, get off and walk through hot spots.
  • If you are swooped by a Magpie, don't panic or run. If you don't have a hat or umbrella, simply place your hands over your head and keep walking.

All sites of swooping birds should also be reported to Ranger Services.