; Watch out for swooping magpies this spring - City of Wanneroo

Watch out for swooping magpies this spring

Published Monday, 4th September 2023

Remember to take precautions when walking and cycling near nesting magpies in parks and bushland areas this spring.


Magpies breed between August and October and defend their eggs and chicks by flying low and fast to intimidate people who enter their territory.

While swooping magpies can be frightening, the birds swoop during nesting season to protect the area in which they find food, build nests and rear their young.

While magpies are one of the most famous Australian bird species, they’re also widely misunderstood.

Did you know that magpies have one of the most complex songs and that the scientific name for an Australian magpie, cracticus tibicen, means ‘flute player’? They also recognise faces and have the ability to form strong bonds with people. And not all magpies swoop – only males do.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has tips to help you avoid getting swooped:

  • Stay clear of magpie nesting areas. Birds normally defend an area of about 100 metres around their nests.
  • If entering a magpie’s territory, adopt a confident stance and watch the bird. If it swoops, move on quickly but do not run.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect eyes and face, and carry an umbrella for protection.
  • If riding a bike, make sure to wear a helmet and dismount and walk through nesting areas.
  • Never deliberately provoke or harass magpies by throwing objects at them.

Magpies are a protected native species, so it is illegal to kill or harm them.

If you are concerned about aggressive magpies in your local area, please contact the Department’s Wildlife Helpline on 9474 9055.

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