Magpie attacks set to increase

Protective male magpies swoop if nests or offspring are threatened.
Protective male magpies swoop if nests or offspring are threatened.

It received more than 70 calls about magpies displaying aggressive behaviour.

Wildlife officer Teagan Johnston said magpies were most active during spring. ‘We expect the number of calls from residents to rise sharply as we approach summer,’ she said.

‘Male magpies are territorial and may swoop at people if they think their nest or offspring are being threatened, but they are only doing what comes naturally when defending their young ones.’

Magpies often become more aggressive as the chicks become older but swooping usually stops once the young have left the nest.

Tall trees provide the perfect environment for magpie nests and the best way for people to avoid being swooped on is to find an alternative way of passing their breeding sites for the six to eight weeks that magpies defend their nest, Ms Johnson advised.

How to avoid magpie attacks
– Wear a wide-brimmed hat and
sunglasses or shelter under an
umbrella to protect your face.
– If a magpie swoops while you are
cycling, it will probably stop
swooping if you get off your bike
and walk.
– If you must enter a ‘defence
zone’, magpies will be less likely to
swoop if they are watched
constantly, or if people walk in a
close group.
n Use signs to warn others of the
location of nests and defence
– Waving sticks or umbrellas in the
air or attaching a brightly coloured
flag on a long pole to your bike can
stop magpies from swooping.