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Magpies are protected throughout New South Wales, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young. 


Magpies are very protective parents and they may swoop anyone seen as an intruder who might harm their chicks.

In the vast majority of cases the swooping is simply bluff, however sometimes people can receive minor head injuries as a result of swooping magpies.

The protective behaviour lasts only a few weeks. For the rest of the year the magpie is peaceful and valuable as an insect eater, renowned for its pleasant warbling.

There are a few precautions people can take during the period when Magpies are actively protecting their territory (normally August to October each year):

  • Avoid the swooping area by taking an alternative route

  • Do not deliberately provoke or harass the birds as this may make them more aggressive

  • Take care as injuries can occur as a result of the birds striking

  • Walk out of the birds territory immediately

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses or carry an open umbrella. Place eyes on the back of hats and umbrellas which may reduce the likelihood of the birds swooping

  • Keep an eye on the bird as this may discourage attack

  • Heed warning signs in magpie swooping hot spots and avoid these areas where possible.

Further Information

PDFSwooping Magpies Brochure (PDF, 94Kb)

For more information on management of aggressive birds visit the Office of Environment and Heritage

If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, it can be reported to Council on 4868 0888.

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Last Updated: April 30th, 2020
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