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Magpies, Plovers and Other Wild Birds

Learn how to live safely with Magpies, Plovers and other native and protected bird species

Council has a duty of care in relation to attacks from magpies or other wild birds from parks, reserves and council controlled areas such as footpaths.  For birds swooping from private property, the duty of care responsibility rests with the landholder.

All native wildlife is protected and cannot be destroyed or moved without a permit from the Department of Environment.

Living Safely with Magpies

Magpies breed from July to December with a peak in August–October and this is the time where they defend their nest.  They may swoop on people and become aggressive, however, it is not the majority.  Use the following techniques to avoid or reduce the impact of a magpie attack.

  • Never deliberately provoke or harass a magpie. Throwing sticks or stones at magpies usually makes a magpie more defensive.
  • Avoid areas where magpies are known to swoop. (Remember, magpie aggression lasts only a few weeks and magpies usually only defend a small area of about 100m in radius around their nest.) 
  • Find the bird and keep watching it when entering a magpie territory. If swooped on, don’t crouch in fear or stop. Move on quickly but don’t run. 
  • Bike riders — dismount and walk through nesting magpie territory, wear a helmet, and fit an orange traffic flag. 
  • Wear a hat or carry an umbrella to protect yourself. A magpie will attack initially from behind. When a magpie is tricked into believing the target is alert, an attack is stopped or not even started. 
  • Learning to live with magpies can be rewarding. You can observe local magpies, study their behaviour, and listen to their songs. We share the same living space. Learning to live together is an important step towards building a better living environment. 

Report swooping magpies to Council so a sign can be erected in the area to warn people.  For more information about magpies and other wildlife, and how to live with them, visit Department of Environment and Science, Queensland.


Like Magpies, Plovers are natives. Like Magpies, they vigorouslyguard their nest (a depression or mound on the ground) and then their chicks, aggressively fending off potential attackers.  

If you have a swooping plover in your neighbourhood or school, use the Plover Territory sign (PDF, 119K)* (from the Department of Environment and Science) to warn others.

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