Mag­pie kill or­der crit­i­cised

Stirling Times - - Front Page -

BIRD ex­perts have crit­i­cised a City of Stir­ling de­ci­sion to seek de­struc­tion of a swoop­ing mag­pie in Trigg.

The City has ap­plied for a dan­ger­ous fauna licence from the Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions to have a mag­pie killed af­ter it was re­ported to have in­jured sev­eral chil­dren at Clarko Re­serve.

Birdlife WA pro­gram man­ager Vicki Stokes la­belled the move “ex­treme” and be­lieved peo­ple should avoid the area dur­ing the nest­ing sea­son.

“It’s only for a short pe­riod of time and in a con­cen­trated area,” she said.

“If they de­stroyed that bird, the nest would still be there. You’re not nec­es­sar­ily deal­ing with the prob­lem long-term.”

She was wor­ried the ap­pli­ca­tion would set a prece­dent but the City be­lieved it was a rare oc­cur­rence that was war­ranted in light of the re­cent at­tacks.

Parks and sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager Ian Hunter said 11 signs were erected at Clarko Re­serve to warn of swoop­ing mag­pies in the area and he urged peo­ple to take care and avoid ar­eas around nests.

“Af­ter as­sess­ing events, the City has de­ter­mined that re­cent mag­pie at­tacks at Clarko Re­serve have been on­go­ing and of a se­ri­ous na­ture,” he said.

Na­tur­ist Eric McCrum, known as The Bird­man, said mag­pies were ter­ri­to­rial, with males ac­tively pro­tect­ing eggs dur­ing nest­ing.

“Why should you kill a male that’s pro­tect­ing its ter­ri­tory?” he said. “As soon as the ba­bies are out, the swoop­ing stops.”

Depart­ment wildlife of­fi­cer Emma Lip­i­anin said if the licence was ap­proved, an of­fi­cer would at­tend the park on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to ob­serve the mag­pie’s be­hav­iour, and shoot it if it was deemed dan­ger­ous.

“Just be­cause we’re is­su­ing a licence doesn’t give an iron-clad death war­rant of the bird,” she said. “We don’t is­sue them lightly.”

A sign warn­ing of swoop­ing mag­pies at Clarko Re­serve.

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