Magpie Season in Brisbane | How to Stay Safe from Magpies

stay safe from Magpies

Spring has sprung and in Queensland this means magpie families are flourishing in our trees. While this fills our ears with their pretty song, it also puts us at risk of their protective behaviour. Like all parents, magpies are intense and focussed when it comes to protecting their kids.

Magpie season in Brisbane

While Magpie Season “officially” runs from July to November, the beginning of Spring is when we traditionally see the swooping action begin through Brisbane’s suburbs. The first sign of Magpie Season are the warning signs the Council puts up at bus stops in a known magpie areas.

Magpies protecting their young

stay safe from Magpies

A Brisbane study has shown that only 9% of magpies become aggressive towards humans when protecting their nests. Male Magpies are the most likely to be the protectors of their nests and will protect the area known as the ‘defence zone’ which is 110-150m of their nest. The young are in the nest for an average of 6 weeks and the defensive behaviour will end once they have left the nest.

How to stay safe from Magpies

While some may see their swooping behaviour as irritating and annoying, we should respect any parent that will do what needs to be done to protect their kids. So instead of getting angry and aggressive at our magpie friends, something that only makes it worse, there are some things we can do to help is all stay safe.

stay safe from Magpies

Here are some tips for avoiding Magpie attacks from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection:

  • Wear a broad brimmed hat or walk under an umbrella – this will help protect your face.
  • The well-known idea of painting a pair of eyes on your hat can actually work! (Who remembers those legionnaire’s hats with the eyes on top from the 1980s?)
  • If you are cycling, it may help to get off your bike and walk through any magpie zones.
  • You can attach a bright flag on a stick onto your bike (Another flashback image to the 80s – perhaps our parents were smarter than we gave them credit for!)
  • Avoid ‘defence zones’ (110-150m of the nest) whenever possible. If you must go through then walk in a close group, watch the magpies closely and even wave a stick or umbrella in the air.
  • Look out for signs (even create one yourself!) in known ‘defence zones’ so you can change your route whenever possible.


Effective Magpie deterrents

stay safe from Magpies

For those who have been sacrificing their fashionable reputation by having zip ties sticking out the top of their bicycle helmets you can now begin to restore your image—these have been proven to be ineffective in stopping attacks. The Brisbane City Council recommends painting or sticking eyes on the top of your helmet as a more effective option.

One final thing to remember: Magpies do not speak English. So walking through a ‘defence zone’ saying “Please don’t swoop, please don’t swoop, please don’t swoop” does not help you at all!

Another sign of the weather heating up in Brisbane is thunderstorms. We have done our research and have the full low-down for you on Talking to kids about storm safety and getting prepared for storm season.

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One response to “Magpie Season in Brisbane | How to Stay Safe from Magpies”

  1. Daniel Buckley says:

    I seriously challenge 9%. More like 90.
    When was this ‘study’ done?? 1982??
    I’ve been cycling for 25 years and never has this season of 2019 been worse

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