Australian Magpies are a familiar sight in Sutherland Shire. They are medium-sized black and white birds with curious personalities and cheerful, carolling song.

Australian Magpies thrive in open areas with trees such as parks, and playing fields.

Magpies are generally very tame and are known to recognise people’s faces. Magpies can be territorial and are very protective of their young. For a few weeks in spring (August to October), when they are nesting, some birds may become aggressive and swoop people, pets, or other animals. It is important to remember that Magpies are not trying to harm you but are simply trying to protect their young.

Remember that the swooping period is temporary and will end once their chicks have safely fledged (left the nest) in about 4 weeks. Swooping occurs from August to October, apply the following recommendations to protect yourself during this period:

Stay calm and try not to panic.

If possible, take an alternate route during this time.

Keep your eyes on the bird - they are less likely to swoop if you are watching them.

Walk away quickly. Do not stop.

If cycling, dismount and walk through the bird’s territory.

Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses

Hold an open umbrella or leafy branch above your head

In the event of persistently swooping birds, Council can install temporary signs warning pedestrians and cyclists to avoid the area.

Yes, Magpies are a protected species in NSW under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and it is against the law to harm them or collect their eggs.

Share this information or the Council’s Swooping Birds Fact Sheet with your neighbours.

If you believe a Magpie is a serious menace and the Council needs to install temporary signs warning pedestrians and cyclists to avoid the area, report it to Council. Otherwise, contact the nearest National Parks and Wildlife Services office.

Learn more with WIRES

Why do native birds swoop in Spring?

Tips to avoid swooping birds