South Burnett residents will be advised to watch out for magpies by signs again this year after a plan to relocate 20 of the region’s most aggressive birds failed to win majority Council support (Photo: Wikipedia)

August 25, 2021

A plan to “re-home” 20 of the region’s most aggressive magpies has failed to win the support of the South Burnett Regional Council.

At Wednesday’s General Meeting, Councillors rejected a plan proposed by Cr Kathy Duff to hire a licensed bird relocater.

Instead, residents using local parks or the rail trail will be advised by signs to keep a watch out for the birds.

The magpie re-homing plan was first suggested at the Community Standing Committee meeting on August 11 after a tragic magpie swooping incident in Brisbane led to a child’s death.

At Wednesday’s meeting, officers tabled a report which said the cost of relocating 20 of the region’s most aggressive birds would be $10,900.

They also tabled a list of 20 potential sites where complaints had been received about magpies.

These were:

  • Meiers Road to Crawford (rail trail)
  • Memerambi-Gordonbrook Road cross-over (rail trail)
  • McKell Park, Wondai
  • Tingoora Sportsground
  • Wondai 24-hour campground
  • Running track next to Kingaroy soccer fields
  • Pioneer Park, Nanango
  • Butter Factory Park, Nanango
  • Lions Park, Murgon
  • Ted Klohs Park to Cobbs Street
  • Dingo Creek Park
  • Tingoora Reserve (behind the school)
  • Blackbutt Cemetery
  • Boat Mountain Road between Wallace Street and Holz Court, Murgon
  • Arthur, Tuite and Doonkuna streets, Kingaroy
  • 20 and 40 Carinya Street, Kingaroy
  • 80 Markwell Street, Kingaroy
  • 112 Moore Street, Kingaroy
  • Kingaroy Street, Kingaroy
  • Chester Leigh Street, Blackbutt

Officers said the cost of moving each magpie would be $500.

The Council would also be billed $900 for the catcher’s travel, accommodation and meal expenses.

Cr Scott Henschen queried the necessity of spending the money.

He said most people were used to magpies swooping during their breeding season and regarded it as an annual inconvenience.

With half this year’s eight-week breeding season already over, he felt he could not support the expenditure.

In addition, he thought relocating aggressive magpies simply shifted the problem elsewhere, and this was unethical.

Mayor Brett Otto said he had heard reports last year that magpies were still swooping well into Term 4.

He also knew of one local child who had been pecked in the eye during last year’s Spring vacation.

Cr Kathy Duff said the swooping season could last until the end of October, and the tragic Brisbane incident underscored just how dangerous magpies could be.

“What would the public say if something like that happened here and they knew we don’t give this a go?” she asked.

Cr Kirstie Schumacher agreed, saying one of her daughters was terrified of a magpie that swooped on her every time she made her way home from school.

In the end, the vote to hire a bird relocater – which was supported by Cr Duff, Cr Schumacher and Mayor Brett Otto – was defeated 4-3.

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4 Responses to "Magpie Relocation Plan Axed"

  1. Dan  August 26, 2021

    It was the correct decision not to relocate the magpies. A solution is to feed the birds meat or chicken skin occasionally during the swooping season (which I jokingly call the ‘swoop tax’). They are very smart birds and recognize who hasn’t paid the swoop tax. They won’t swoop the hand that feeds them, in my experience.

  2. Julie Berry  August 27, 2021

    I agree with Dan not to relocate the magpies. They are quite happy if you give them some bread, it doesn’t have to be meat. And common sense should prevail, ie wearing wide brimmed hats or using an umbrella if walking.

  3. Rob & Annette Langford  September 27, 2021

    Try riding a bicycle regularly whilst receiving four body blows to my cycling helmet from attacking magpies. I do nothing to exacerbate the situation.

    I’ve changed routes to avoid magpies and at last count there are at least 8 attacking birds in the greater Kingaroy area that I currently deal with.

    I ride for recreation and fitness. Having the added distraction on the road and rail trail to deal with is a recipe for an accident that I can do without.

  4. Vince Hopgood  November 23, 2021

    I cycled the Kingaroy to Wondai Rail Trail today, 23rd November, with my wife and one of my children. It was a really enjoyable outing, except unfortunately for the exceedingly aggressive magpie near the Wondai roundabout. These birds need to be relocated. They’re enough to put people off coming to enjoy your wonderful district


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