Photo by Simon Monk
This bird is common throughout Australia and best
known for its melodious song, typically heard at dawn. They also
have a nasty habit of swooping on unsuspecting visitors that come
too close to their nests during the nesting season from August to
One such attack occurred in a park in Canberra in October 2000 when
four year old Jennelle Ferry was hit in her right eye by a magpie
and was permanently blinded, later the Supreme Court ordered the
local council that owned the park to pay $172,000 in compensation.
A 51 year old man was cycling across Tom's Bridge north of Morwel
in Melbourne and crashed his bicycle after a magpie attacked him.
An ambulance took him to the Latrobe Regional Hospital where he
remained with serious head injuries in a critical condition. A year
before a 74 year old Mildura man died after a magpie attack in which
he received a serious eye injury.
If you want to minimize the risk of being attacked riding your
bike around Melbourne, there is a website step-hen.com/magpie
where you can find where the magpies nest and avoid these places.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment says magpies swoop
in spring to protect their chicks and territory, and they suggest
travelling in a group or avoiding certain areas.
Are you a bird
enthusiast? Write the magpie page for us!