Everyone knows spring is the traditional property season, but many do not know it is also magpie nesting season and unlike the property market, magpies can drop on you when you least expect it!
A Brisbane study has shown only 9% of magpies are aggressive towards people. Even though most magpies don’t attack people, many of us have seen or experienced a strike, while walking or riding a bike through a magpie’s ‘defence zone’ on the way to work or school.
However, by understanding what sticks in a magpie’s craw, you can keep yourself and your family safe this spring. For starters, many maggies seem to have taken a particular dislike to pedestrians and cyclists. A magpie will only defend its nest within its defence zone. If you’re on foot, this is usually an area within 110 metres, and if you’re cycling it is 150 metres according to the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
A magpie’s defensive behaviour can range from a non-contact swoop with or without its beak snapping, through to pecking, dive-bombing and sometimes front-on attacks from the ground.
There are a few tips that can keep you safe from swooping magpies this spring. These include wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or sheltering under an umbrella to protect your face. If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you jump off your bike and walk. If you have identified a magpie defence zone, try and avoid it if possible – and use signs to warn your neighbours and visitors about the flying dangers. At the same time, don’t try and fight the swooping threats with sticks and stones – it will only make a magpie more hostile. Also, don’t approach a young magpie that has fallen from a nest – mum and dad will be watching and you’ll be marked as a predator to be dealt with in the future.
If a magpie becomes aggressive and is a community risk, it can, in some instances, be removed. Contact your local council to see if they can help. Alternatively, try searching for your nearest licensed magpie relocator online, or contact your local wildlife service.
September, 2016 by raineandhorne