Em­pathise with mag­pies

Isis Town and Country - - News -

SWOOP­ING mag­pies are com­mon in Childers at this time of year, and it can be scary, but Backyard Bud­dies wants you to know it doesn’t have to be.

Backyard Bud­dies is a free pro­gram run by Aus­tralia’s Foun­da­tion for Na­tional Parks and Wildlife.

Each month, Backyard Bud­dies email (B-mail) tips to make the backyard invit­ing and safe for na­tive an­i­mals. Mag­pies fea­ture in the Septem­ber B-mail.

Sign up for B-mail and down­load a free fact­sheet about mag­pies at back­yard­bud­dies.net.au.

Ms Su­sanna Brad­shaw, CEO of the Foun­da­tion for Na­tional Parks and Wildlife, said there were a lot of things you could do to avoid get­ting swooped, by un­der­stand­ing why mag­pies be­have the way they do.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that not all mag­pies swoop. Fe­male mag­pies don’t swoop at all as they are busy tend­ing to the chicks and only some males do. In fact it is es­ti­mated that only 9% of mag­pies swoop. The male mag­pies that do the swoop­ing be­lieve they are pro­tect­ing their off­spring,” Ms Brad­shaw said.

The birds will swoop for about six weeks of the year.

“The most com­mon tar­gets for mag­pies are peo­ple rid­ing bi­cy­cles, young chil­dren and males, although each mag­pie will usu­ally have its own tar­get.

“The worst thing you can do when a mag­pie is swoop­ing you is to try and fight back. Throw­ing rocks or sticks at a mag­pie will only fur­ther ag­gra­vate it and en­cour­age it to swoop more,” she said.

The best thing to do is avoid lo­ca­tions where you know there is a mag­pie swoop­ing. Al­ter your walk­ing or bik­ing route for the next six weeks af­ter a swoop. Mag­pies tend to nest in the same spots each year.

PHOTO: JODIE DIXON

MAG­PIE PSY­CHOL­OGY: Childers res­i­dents are be­ing swooped by male mag­pies who be­lieve they are pro­tect­ing their off­spring.

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