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Swooping Magpies

A swooping Magpie is protecting its territory and nest, it will only act in this manner at breeding time and you will find that it is only some birds that will do this. It is usually as a result of previous perceived intrusion on it's territory.


Magpies are territorial and can not be relocated, in springtime they have eggs or young, if the offending adult bird was to be relocated there would be no parent bird to look after the young, and they would starve to death.You would also have another Maggie move in as soon as the territory became vacant.

So how do we overcome this problem?


There is a number of ways to deal with this; one would be to avoid the area for the short time the Maggie is nesting, another is to carry an open umbrella, wear a hat (good practice anyway in this climate) carry a stick just above your head, do not try to hit the Magpie as this will only make it even more aggressive to the next person. If possible use the other side of the road or garden while Maggie is breeding, and enjoy watching the young as they learn from their devoted parents.

Alert other people in the area to the fact that a Magpie is nesting by erecting a sign.

Magpies build a nest fairly high up in the trees, the basket like nest is made from sticks leaves and grasses, they make use of things like string, rope, wire, hair and anything else they may think useful. They will reuse the nest year after year doing repair work every new season.

Breeding takes place from June till December. The eggs take about 21days to hatch, and the young will spend about 4 weeks in the nest before they leave. The nest is the most dangerous place for a juvenile bird, as predators can easily find them, so the parent birds will encourage the young to leave as soon as possible. They will leave the nest before being able to fly, they will flutter from bush to bush being fed by the parents. You will usually hear them being very noisy at this particular time of the year, as they beg for food from exhausted parents.

Magpies are great visitors to your garden, as they eat a variety of destructive insects, so please remember if you spray for these insects, you malso poison your natural pest control being birds like Magpies, that will over a period of time, do the job for you.

Do not be tempted to feed wild birds, the natural balance is easily upset, instead place a bird bath in your garden, and remember to change the water regularly to minimise the chance if decease.


Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

Image by Sarah Bennett

Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

Image by Sarah Bennett




Updated March 2021  

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