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Magpie nesting season

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Published 11 October 2023

It's that time of year again - blooms are blossoming, the sun is shining and our flighted friend the magpie swoops in to say hey!

Magpies breed between August and October and become very territorial during this time in order to protect their young hence why they swoop unsuspecting passers-by.

If you come across a territorial magpie please keep the following in mind:

  • Never deliberately provoke or harass a magpie. Throwing sticks or stones usually makes them more defensive. Magpies have good memories and they may continuously swoop a potential aggressor.
  • Avoid areas where magpies are known to swoop. Remember, magpie hostility lasts only a few weeks and they usually only defend a small area of about 100m radius around their nest.
  • Locate the bird and keep watching it when entering its territory. If it swoops, don’t crouch in fear or stop: move on quickly but don’t run.
  • If you are riding a bike make sure you wear a helmet, and dismount and walk through nesting magpie territory.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses or carry an umbrella for protection. Magpies initially attack from behind but can swoop back around.
  • Adopt a confident stance as this can have a strong deterrent effect

Learning to live alongside wildlife is an important step towards building a better living environment and observing and listening to magpies can be an enjoyable experience.

If you find a sick or injured magpie contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 for information on registered wildlife rehabilitators and centres who can assist you with your enquiry.