TARGET ACQUIRED: Vicious magpies descend on motorbike riders near the Gemfields. Monique Newton and Paula Rapson captured shots on their GoPro camera.
TARGET ACQUIRED: Vicious magpies descend on motorbike riders near the Gemfields. Monique Newton and Paula Rapson captured shots on their GoPro camera. Monique Newton And Paula Rapson

Eyes on the Central Queensland 'pies

WITH the arrival of spring comes the familiar flap of black and white wings, the burst of air and by your ear and for those particularly unfortunate, a predatory peck.

Magpie breeding season has begun and male magpies have taken up their role to protect their young, so it is time to buckle up the helmet and perhaps reroute your daily journey.

To help Central Queensland residents avoid the nesting areas of swooping magpies, CQ News has collaborated with the Central Highlands Regional Council on their Swooping Magpie Map.

KNOW OF ANY MAGPIE SWOOPING SPOTS? Let us know when and where and whether you were walking or riding so we can warn others.
Email: amber.hooker@cqnews.com.au

You can also add a pin on the go using your smartphone.

 Use your 'Maps' app to 'drop a pin' (just hold your finger down on the location) then tap the pin and select send via email, or SMS 0497 566 038.

The Isaac Regional Council has also created their own map and are keen for people to let them know if there are any new nests this season via their website.

How does magpie swooping season affect you?

This poll ended on 30 September 2015.

Current Results

My walking/cycling routes change as much as possible to avoid them

50%

I just take the attacks in my stride, they are only doing what comes naturally

12%

I avoid walking/cycling year round, not just during magpie season

12%

It does not affect me at all

25%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


PROTECTIVE MEASURES

How to protect yourself against swooping magpies:

  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies (painting or sticking large 'eyes' on the back of your hat can also deter magpies-but this won't work for cyclists).
  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.
  • Avoid 'defence zones' by taking alternative routes during the breeding season.
  • If you must enter a 'defence zone', magpies will be less likely to swoop if they are watched constantly, or if people walk in a close group.
  • Use signs to warn others of the location of nests and defence zones, particularly in areas used by children and the elderly.
     
  • Waving sticks or umbrellas in the air or attaching a brightly coloured flag on a long pole to your bicycle can stop magpies from swooping.
     
  • Be patient and compassionate with breeding birds during this time.
     
  • Inquiries regarding magpies or reports of swooping magpies on private land should be referred to the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

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