Brace for magpie attacks in North Brisbane

By on September 10, 2014
A magpie swoops on a bike rider wearing a rear helmet.

WALKERS, runners and cyclists in Northern Brisbane have been alerted to the heightened danger in the air as aggressive magpies launch sneak aerial attacks to protect their eggs.

The breeding season from late August to early October fired up magpies’ protective instincts, the Australian Veterinary Association warned northeasterners.

“Tolerance is the best policy. We need to appreciate that some magpies will defend their territory from intruders because of a natural instinct to protect their offspring,” the association said.

The magpies were joined by butcher birds, kookaburras, plovers and even the invasive myna from India as potential serial swoopers when feeling threatened.

“Fast moving objects such as people and bikes and anyone who moves directly towards their nests are perceived as threats and are likely to be swooped.

“Dog walkers and toddlers in prams are also a common target.

The vets suggested:

  • Wear a hat or carry a stick or umbrella which can be raised to fend off serious attacks.
  • Cyclists should wear a helmet, dismount and walk through the area.
  • Draw a pair of eyes and attach to the back of hats and helmets, as birds may be less likely to attack if they think you are watching them.
  • Don’t interfere with or throw stones at birds. This may give them more reason to see humans as a threat and lead to increased swooping behaviour.
  • Put up warning signs for others who may not be aware there are swooping birds in the area, or ask your council to do so.

“Think about using different pathways because moving the bird is not an option,” Dr Johnson said.

“We’re lucky to live in a country where we share our suburbs with such amazing birds, so we simply need to find a way to live in harmony.”

About Nick Moore

Nick Moore is the editor of He also edits the printed Great Wait. Nick started as a journalist in 1993 and has worked for Fairfax, News Corp and APN.

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