A magpie swoops. Picture: Nathan Edwards
A magpie swoops. Picture: Nathan Edwards

SWOOPING SEASON: A guide to surviving magpies in Toowoomba

THE beginning of September means the beginning of swooping season.

It's the time of year when most people run the gauntlet of death through the city's parks, avoiding our beaked and feathered friends as they begin to nest.

As the mercury rises, magpies become extremely protective of their young.

While many attach cable ties and fake eyes to their bike helmets or wear glasses  - most will opt to run for their lives.

The Chronicle has compiled some top tips to keep you safe.

  • AVOID THE AREA: Magpies swoop to scare potential intruders, not necessarily to maim. Your best bet is to dodge any nests if you know where they are.
  • DISMOUNT: If you are on a bike, Toowoomba Regional Council's advice is to get off it. Magpies respond to movement and walking will likely agitate them less.
  • DO NOT APPROACH: Young magpies often spend a lot of time on the ground, but don't worry they aren't injured. Resist the urge to pick them up as they are likely under the watchful eye of a broody mother.

Based on data collected by magpiealert.com on last year's swooping season, the map below shows the most likely place magpies are expected to strike in Toowoomba this year.


Toowoomba Regional Council does not move reported pest magpies, its policy is to instead erect warning signs near nesting sites to warn pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of potential danger.

So if you see a sign, beware.

"Council policy is when someone is swooped by a magpie, because they are a protected species, we put a sign up there and let people know there is one in the area that may have babies," Cr Joe Ramia said.

"I don't believe moving them is the solution because if you move them somewhere else they become a problem for someone else.

"That is their habitat, their domain and they need to be able to nest there so surely the community can be respectful of what nature has to offer."

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