South Burnett Food Ambassador Jason Ford shows the effects of a magpie strike after a recent ride on the South Burnett Rail Trail in the middle of magpie breeding season (Photo: Jason Ford)

September 23, 2019

The South Burnett Rail Trail Users Association (SBRTUA) will ask South Burnett Regional Council to erect signs on the Rail Trail next year warning users about swooping magpies.

At the SBRTUA’s monthly meeting on Monday night, members heard a number of Rail Trail users had reported being swooped by magpies since the start of breeding season in mid-August.

Several riders also reported receiving wounds from the birds, including well-known South Burnett chef Jason Ford.

In response, the SBRTUA had posted information on its Facebook page about ways to avoid or limit attacks from swooping magpies.

However the recent death of a 76-year-old cyclist – who crashed while trying to avoid a swooping bird near Wollongong – has heightened the SBRTUA’s concerns.

Swooping only occurs during magpie breeding season as the birds try to protect their nests.

It usually lasts from late August to mid-October, after which the birds pose no risk.

The SBRTUA meeting resolved to request the Council look at erecting temporary warning signs during the breeding season in the interests of public safety.

The signs could be erected either at places where users typically join the trail, or near identified swooping sites which may vary from year to year.

The SBRTUA said if Council opted for portable warning signs, they would be happy to report swooping sites next season in order to help Council minimise costs.

Posted by Jason Ford on Friday, 20 September 2019

Video: Jason Ford’s video of being swooped by a magpie on the Rail Trail

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