• Hannah Phillips

Magpie Breeding Season Begins


Australians are being warned to look out for swooping magpies, as their breeding season begins.


With breeding usually occurring between August and October, there have been reports of magpies warbling in the early hours of the morning - tell tale sign breeding has begun.

Female magpies typically lay between 3 to 5 eggs, which they sit on for 3 weeks until they hatch.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Animal Welfare Manager Dr Deb Kelly said it’s not uncommon during breeding season for magpies to start warbling between one and two in the morning.

“Swooping starts as soon as the eggs are laid, as the birds are highly territorial and swoop on any perceived threat to protect their nests from predators.

"Magpies are not malicious, but the males will swoop on humans and other animals if they feel threatened, and their beaks and claws can do some damage.

“The best way to avoid being swooped is to detour around a magpie’s nest if you can,” Dr Kelly said.

Other tactics for surviving swooping season include:

  • Travelling in groups where possible

  • Carrying an open umbrella above your head

  • Wearing sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat

  • Cyclists should walk rather than ride their bikes through magpie territory or have a flag on the back of the bike that is higher than their head.

  • Not acting aggressively - waving or shouting is perceived as a threat to the nest.

  • Walking, not running and avoiding making eye contact with the birds.

  • Putting up signs in magpie swooping areas to warn other passers by

  • Taking a slight detour around known nesting sites - magpies will only swoop within 50m of their nesting sites.