26 September 2023

Parks Service swoops on magpie warning

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The ACT Parks and Conservation Service has reminded Canberra residents that September marks the start of the magpie swooping season.

Director of the Service, Justin Foley said this was the time when magpies were beginning to build their nests and care for their young.

“Swooping is a defensive method for magpies to protect their young when they feel threatened by intruders,” Mr Foley said.

“While a majority of magpies are not prone to swooping, their instincts kick in when feeling threatened,” he said.

“When people harass magpies, it encourages increasingly aggressive behaviour.”

Mr Foley said people can take some simple precautions to avoid being swooped, such as walking quickly through magpie territory but not running; taking alternate routes if possible; wearing hats, helmets, glasses or carrying an umbrella; and keeping domestic animals on leash while in magpie territory.

He also advised people to maintain eye contact with the magpie and walk their bikes through magpie territory instead of riding.

“Magpies are such an iconic native bird and it is important that they are protected from harm,” Mr Foley said.

“All native birds, their eggs, young and their nests are protected and it is illegal to interfere with them in any way.”

More information on living with magpies can be accessed from the Environment Directorate’s website at this PS News link.

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