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Swooping magpies begin their air raids across Ipswich


Look up! Swooping magpies have begun their daring dives across Ipswich.

Ipswich City Council is providing tips to avoid being hit by the native birds as the region’s birds are already active.

If you need to enter a defence zone and are swooped, refrain from yelling or throwing anything as this may harm the birds and may provoke more aggression from the bird at the time of the incident, and more vicious attacks in the future.

All native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and harming these native birds is against the law.

Councillor Russell Milligan says Ipswich City Council’s successful Aggressive Native Bird program has provided increased community safety and better outcomes for our native birds.

“Magpies, plovers, butcherbirds, kookaburras, crows, currawongs and peewees are the birds here in Ipswich most likely to exhibit swooping behaviours as they protect their eggs and young between July and November,” Cr Milligan says.

“Since council’s Aggressive Native Bird program was reviewed in 2019, council has seen a 360 per cent increase on service requests regarding swooping birds.

“However, due to the successful delivery of the program, council saw cost savings per request despite this increase.

Here are a few practical tips to help keep you safe this swooping season:

  • · Keep clear of the breeding area – magpies and plovers generally only swoop for up to six weeks of the year
  • · Wear a hat
  • · If you are riding your bike near a breeding area, dismount and walk as this can help stop the swooping behaviours
  • · Avoid the defence zones by taking a different route while the bird is displaying aggressive behaviours
  • · Hold a stick or umbrella up in the air as you walk to help deter the birds
  • · Stick eye spots or stickers on the back of your bike helmet
  • · Maintain eye contact with the aggressive bird if you have to enter the defence zone
  • · Always leave young birds alone. They are commonly found at the base of a tree and are still learning to fly, trialling their skills with their parents close by


To report a swooping bird call council on 3810 6666 or email [email protected]

For concerns regarding swooping birds on private property, call the Queensland Department of Environment and Science on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for advice, or engage a private fauna consultant for relocation services.


Images: Supplied