A cyclist’s complaints about a swooping magpie have resulted in the bird being shot by the council, outraging magpie lovers at the beginning of a contentious Spring “swooping” season.
The cyclist, who said she was attacked a few weeks ago while riding near Old Windsor Rd in Bella Vista in northwest Sydney, complained to the Hills District Council.
Posting to a local cyclist Facebook group, the woman said she’d received a notice that the bird had been “removed”, just weeks after she’d notified them of the attack.
“I have just received an email advising that the magpie has now been removed, so hopefully that area will now be safe :),” the woman wrote on Facebook.
Australian magpies are known for their aggression during the Spring months when breeding birds, generally males, will swoop predators who come near nests.
The birds nurse their young in trees, with exposed nests, and a small proportion of the birds can become extremely aggressive, swooping pedestrians or cyclists who come within 50 metres of the nest.
The cyclist’s post from a private Facebook group was shared by Magpie Alert, a social website with over 4000 Facebook fans, that tracks magpie attacks around Australia.
“I am so angry right now that I wont even comment,” a woman said, sharing the post to a magpie lover’s group on Facebook.
“Is it too hard for people to take another route for a few weeks,” another magpie lover asked.
A local resident claimed she was sent a lengthy email by the council, telling her that following the complaint the bird had been shot.
News.com.au understands the magpie was the source of a large number of bird attacks over the years and had caused significant issues for people travelling on the cycleway.
Before it was shot, a significant number of locals had complained about the bird.
The resident claimed she was told by a councillor that council was granted two different licences to harm the bird, which is legal under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
News.com.au understands the approvals were made to kill the bird because it was deemed highly aggressive and destructive by the council, and was in a busy area.
Because of this, the magpie was deemed to pose a risk to the public. It’s understood that while council did initially try to trap the bird, they were unable to do so.
Council obtained a second licence, allowing them to shoot the bird, earlier this month.
The magpie was shot by an experienced professional, with NSW Police present, news.com.au understands.
“I have ridden a bike daily for nearly 50 years and been swooped tons of times — would never think any one of these intelligent and protective animals should be shot!” another man commented on the post.
“What a horror show. Just take another route. Are we going to shoot every native animal that causes inconvenience?”
Cyclists in the local group have previously complained about birds in the area attacking them, saying the route is notorious for vicious magpie attacks, and is difficult to avoid if on a bicycle.
News.com.au is not suggesting the cyclist was aware the magpie would be killed.
News.com.au contacted the Hills Shire Council for comment but did not yet receive a response.
As magpie season begins in NSW, a different angry magpie has been caught attacking a postie as they tried to deliver the mail.
A homeowner posted a montage video to You Tube that showed her postie repeatedly being attacked by the bird, as they tried to deliver mail to her home in Cessnock, in the Hunter Region of NSW.
The first attack shows the bird attack the postie from behind two times, as the postie is putting the mail in the letter box, and a second time they’re riding away.
The second time, the bird swoops and misses the postie as they ride through.
The homeowner told The Daily Mail the bird has never attacked him or his family, who have lived in the house for the past 18 months.
“He obviously has a problem with the postie though,” Mark Byrnes said.
According to the Mail, the bird has recently warmed to the postie, and ceased attacking them.