Indi, 4 and Finn Kelly, 5 at Perth Children’s Hospital after sustaining eye injuries in magpie attacks in the City of Stirling suburb of Trigg at the weekend. Picture: Nic Ellis/Westpix
Indi, 4 and Finn Kelly, 5 at Perth Children’s Hospital after sustaining eye injuries in magpie attacks in the City of Stirling suburb of Trigg at the weekend. Picture: Nic Ellis/Westpix

Suburb wants licence to kill magpie

THERE is one magpie causing extreme havoc in the City of Stirling in Perth and the council wants a license to cull the offending bird.

The council took action after attacks in Clarko Reserve, a grassy beachside park, left two Perth children with severe eye injuries and others with scratched faces.

Magpies in other parts of the country have already been shot by police for swooping behaviour, including one magpie in Lismore earlier this month.

City of Stirling parks and sustainability manager Ian Hunter said the council would apply to the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions to eradicate the offending bird.

"After assessing events over the weekend, the City has determined that recent magpie attacks at Clarko Reserve have been ongoing and of a serious nature, and will apply to DBCA for a dangerous fauna licence to remove the offending bird," Mr Hunter said in a statement.

A DBCA spokesperson told news.com.au that once a license was approved, an animal control agent would conduct an assessment of the problem magpie and if deemed a threat, it will then be taken out with a firearm.

"As assessment is made on site. No bird is ever destroyed without an assessment being made," the spokesperson said. "Generally the control agent will visit the location, and watch its behaviour, signs of swooping and aggression."

Mr Hunter added that if there is evidence of ongoing aggressive behaviour from magpies in a City park or reserve, the City can investigate and work with the DBCA to discuss preventive measures, going forward.

Perth Now reported that a magpie narrowly missed a five-year-old's eye when it swooped her yesterday in Clarko Reserve, near where two small children were pecked in the eyes just days before.

Indi, 4 and Finn Kelly, 5 at Perth Children’s Hospital after sustaining eye injuries in magpie attacks in the City of Stirling suburb of Trigg at the weekend. Picture: Nic Ellis/Westpix
Indi, 4 and Finn Kelly, 5 at Perth Children’s Hospital after sustaining eye injuries in magpie attacks in the City of Stirling suburb of Trigg at the weekend. Picture: Nic Ellis/Westpix


The young girl, Sophia, escaped serious injury from the attack but her mother said it should serve as a warning to parents to be extra vigilant.

"They are territorial animals," Ange Power told the publication.

"Take adequate precautions, wear sunglasses and hats and look down, not up at the birds."

The extent of the problem is severe after two more children were attacked at the same park.

Their parents Lesley Protheroe and Daphne Naussedat agreed that magpies had become more aggressive in recent years.

But both told Perth Now there were places they avoided at this time of year.

"It only happens at certain times of year so we do our best to avoid them, we tell our kids to keep their heads down," Ms Protheroe said.

Ms Naussedat said Light Street park in Dianella was notorious for aggressive magpies.

However, Mrs Power's said she doesn't think it is worth shooting them.

"It is their environment," she added.

 

If City of Stirling council‘s license application is approved and an assessment deems it a threat, the problem magpie will be taken out with a firearm.
If City of Stirling council‘s license application is approved and an assessment deems it a threat, the problem magpie will be taken out with a firearm.


Wildlife biologist Bill Bateman, from Curtin University's school of molecular and life sciences, told Perth Now that children were more susceptible because they were often running around and making a lot of noise.

"Magpies also get very irate by bikes … the radius of attack from a tree is much bigger if a bike goes past, they don't like them," he said.

The council has placed 11 signs throughout Clarko Reserve to warn people about swooping magpies in the area.

It also urges anyone visiting the City's parks or reserves at this time of year to take extra care and caution, and avoid areas where there may be nesting activity.

"Magpies can be territorial and will swoop if they believe their nest is under threat," a council spokesperson said.

According to the Australian Bird Study Association, magpie swooping season started early this year. Magpie Alert provides a Magpie Map informing Aussies of known swooping places to avoid and also includes more terrifying accounts of recent swooping episodes.

In Victoria, the number of magpie-related injuries rose so much that the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne warned the public to be extra cautious about attacks.

"Normally, we might see one or two a month," the hospital's emergency director, Dr Carmel Crock told ABC radio in July.

"But in July (2017) we saw 14 cases of bird eye injuries. August 2017 there were 12."

 

SAFETY TIPS:

  • Avoid magpie hot spots
  • Protect your eyes and head by wearing sunglasses and a hat
  • If a magpie is swooping you stay calm and move quickly but don't run, if you panic then you might provoke further attack
  • If you do get attacked log the location so others can avoid it

 

Melbourne’s Bon Beach resident David gets swooped by a local magpie. Pic: Michael Klein
Melbourne’s Bon Beach resident David gets swooped by a local magpie. Pic: Michael Klein


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