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With spring comes magpies. Break out the cable ties.

By johnboy 1 September 2011 47

magpie protection

Territory And Municipal Services are warning that it’s magpie time again:

With the warmer weather just around the corner Canberrans are urged to be aware that the magpie swooping season has begun.

“Magpies are an important part of the Canberra environment and for most of the year they are good neighbours. During the six week breeding season, however, they become territorial and may swoop people and other animals in the area of their nest to protect their young,” said Nadia Kuzmanoski, Ranger, Parks and Reserves.

“Not all magpies are threatened by people, only some will swoop. It is important not to aggravate magpies or retaliate as they can become more aggressive if irritated.

People can follow simple precautions can help avoid being swooped by a magpie:

— walk through the magpie’s territory quickly, but don’t run;
— take a different route next time;
— protect your head with an umbrella, hat or helmet and your eyes with glasses;
— attach a flag or streamers on a stick to your backpack or bike; and
— avoid throw things at magpies.

And let’s not forget the CSIRO’s groundbreaking work in this area:

[Photo by Owen from last year]

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47 Responses to
With spring comes magpies. Break out the cable ties.
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TheDancingDjinn 11:30 pm 19 Oct 12

I absolutely love this thread. Thank you all for your wonderful stories, i have not laughed like this in some time.

niknak 8:44 pm 19 Oct 12

We walk/run our woofer around the Inner North once or maybe twice a day and have not been swooped for years. The maggies, crows and minahs swoop the hound, however. He’s a well-mannered, not-too-bright dog so accepts it with good grace.

pirate_taco 5:51 pm 19 Oct 12

Watson said :

Magpies only swoop when they have hatchlings in the nest

The magpies near my house swoop my chickens all year round.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

pirate_taco 5:40 pm 19 Oct 12

Eppo said :

I really don’t understand the cable tie thing, maybe someone can explain…

Magpies can’t break through helmets. I’ve never had a problem forgoing the ridiculous porcupine hat.

I’ve had one draw blood from my ear before while on a push bike, never resorted to using cable ties though.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

77Eliza 4:30 pm 19 Oct 12

Thanks all, I braved it yesterday and other than some slightly higher blood pressure from expecting to be swooped – it was all clear.

And then came home to a dead pee wee in the backyard – wonder what that means??

Watson 10:24 am 17 Oct 12

Magpies only swoop when they have hatchlings in the nest and get more passionate about defending their territory as their offspring grows. If it’s a good season, they can have 2 broods, which is why they sometimes are seen swooping late in the season. They can also be very particular about who/what/when they swoop. We had one at our local shops one spring that would only swoop kids riding bikes. Posties are also often a very popular target. Getting off your bike often works. But then again, they might just not like the colour of your jumper.

Magpie alert is an interesting book based on research on this kind of stuff.

In our neighbourhood magpies only seem to swoop dogs. I laugh so much when I walk my dog! She thinks it’s a game, so she chases the magpies and they chase her back. Endless fun!

We did have a magpie removed from near the preschool and primary school 2 years ago. My then 5yo thought it was funny to get swooped and laughed at the kids who fell to the ground in hysterics. Until he made her ear bleed and then it wasn’t quite as funny. A few days later there was a ranger at the oval to catch the aggressive bird who apparently had injured scores of little kids. I believe he said they would relocate him to somewhere away from people. And that another male would move in immediately and help raise the chicks. Since then we’ve had no people swoopers…

thatsnotme 11:19 pm 16 Oct 12

I must have the luckiest bike commute possible. This is my first spring riding to work, and I was sure I’d run across at least one angry maggie – but in 14.5km from Belco to the City, along Southern Cross / Belco Way / Barry Drive, I haven’t been swooped once – not even a half-arsed attempt.

My bike, and my gear, is basically black and white too – so I must look like as huge, unknown magpie invading their territory. Guess I’m just lucky enough to ride past plenty of laid back maggies!

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