Magpie swooping season begins
  • Monday 24 August 2020

Magpies breeding season has begun across the Sunshine Coast and council asks residents to remain tolerant of the protected native animal as they walk or ride near nests.\

Natural Areas Conservation Officer Tyron de Kauwe said magpies were very clever, remembering faces in their neighbourhood.

“Magpies are pretty amazing birds and in fact only 10 per cent of breeding males will actually swoop,” Mr de Kauwe said.

“Magpies will often stay in one area for up to 20 years and can identify individuals by their facial features, even recognising all the people in their neighbourhood.

“When they walk around with their head tilted, they are actually listening for prey and are capable of hearing earthworms and larvae moving underground.

“Unlike other members of the Artamidae family, magpies walk along the ground, they do not hop.

“They are also extraordinary parents, looking after their young for up to two years.

Mr de Kauwe reminded residents of the role they played in ensuring their own safety, as well of that of young magpies and offered the following tips for living with magpies.

“Swooping begins once the eggs are hatched and ends once the chicks have left the nest, which is about six to eight weeks,” he said.

“When you see male magpies defending their territory, they are merely defending their young.

“Don’t act aggressively towards them as they have a very long memory and this will just encourage further defensive behaviour in the future.

“Move quickly through the area but do not run, wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses or use an umbrella, dismount and walk your bike and where possible, walk in groups – or avoid the area altogether if possible.

“Most importantly though, take a moment to appreciate the complex carolling of one of Australia’s most iconic birds—the humble magpie.”