Warning signs go up as magpie swooping season approaches

IT’S that time of the year again. Warning decals have been placed on the cycleway at Woonona Beach where a notorious magpie is known for its swooping behaviour, and Wollongong City Council have further signs on standby in case birds are reported in other areas.

During spring, magpies will defend their nests and chicks, but also defend their surrounding territory. While only a small proportion of magpies swoop, swooped by a magpie can be a frightening experience.

Council is calling on the community to let them know if they see any swooping magpies in streets and parks this spring.

“For a few years now we’ve been proactively putting in ‘swooping magpie’ signage in locations where the birds have exhibited this behaviour at the start of their breeding season,” Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

“By being on the front foot with signs and decals on the pathways we’re able to provide a visual prompt that warns people about the birds, who only exhibit this behaviour for a short period of time when they’re protecting their nest and their young. It also reduces the risk our community members will get an unpleasant fright.”

Magpies are a protected species in Australia, and it’s estimated only about 10 per cent of the birds show swooping behaviour. There are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of being swooped by a magpie. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service recommends;

  • Choosing a different route if you know there is a swooping magpie
  • Wearing a hat or carry an open umbrella
  • Walking a bike rather than riding it through an area with a swooping magpie
  • Protecting your head and eyes
  • Don’t run

Residents can let Council know about swooping magpies in parks and public spaces by calling 4227 7111 or filling out a report through Council’s website.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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