By Karen Simmons
It’s that time of year when walking home from school, riding your bike and delivering mail can give you heart palpitations.
Magpie Swooping Season has begun around the Gladstone and Banana Shires and as many of us know, keeping your eyes on the skies can be a risk in itself.
The breeding season for most swooping birds is July to November, peaking between August to October.
When native bird species have eggs or young in their nest, a small percentage can become protective and may swoop people entering their nesting territory.
Conversely, other species are opportunistic and may swoop for a regular food source or inadvertently by attacking their own reflections.
Typically, individual birds swoop for between six and eight weeks and generally stop following the departure of their young from their nest.
This is normal defensive behaviour during the breeding season and typically lasts up to six weeks.
Council investigates complaints regarding nuisance magpies on Council-controlled land and will erect warning signs in the vicinity of the swooping zone if needed.
It is a serious offence to harm or interfere with native Australian birds, as they are protected under State Wildlife Legislation (Nature Conservation Act 1992).
As such, it is a serious offence to harm, take, keep or move them, unless authorised under the NCA or a Damage Mitigation Permit (DMP) is obtained for a relocation to be conducted by an authorised person or local authority.
The best way to avoid being swooped is to:
1. Avoid the area by finding an alternative route by consulting the Gladstone Regional Council Swooping Birds Map or https://www.magpiealert.com/
2. Protect yourself by wearing a broad-brimmed hat or using an umbrella, glasses and by holding your school bag above your head
3. Team up with others and walk in a group
4. Dismount and walk if you are riding your bike and attach a flag on a long pole to your bike
5. Do not interfere with the birds, their young or their nests
6. Do not provoke the swooping bird by yelling, throwing objects or fighting back
7. Report swooping birds to Council
To report a problem area, please contact Gladstone Council via their online form and Banana Council on (07) 4992 9500.
You can fill out a “Magpie Attack Notification Form” download link here: https://www.banana.qld.gov.au/…/magpie-attack…and email to email@example.com.
Alternatively, residents can use the Snap Send Solve app, which we encourage residents and staff to utilise.