Magpie Shot Dead Following Council Complaint
A complaint made by a cyclist about a swooping magpie has resulted in the bird being shot by the local council, sparking anger among the community and experts.
The cyclist immediately complained to council after she was attacked along Old Windsor Road in Bella Vista in Sydney's north-west.
In a Facebook post to a local cyclist group days later, the woman confirmed that the dangerous bird had been "removed".
"I have just received an email advising that the magpie has now been removed, so hopefully that area will now be safe again to use," she wrote.
The Hills Shire Council has confirmed to 10 daily that "removed" meant the bird was shot with the guidance of police on August 28.
"It has been causing some dramas for about three years," General Manager Michael Edgar said. "There have been about 40 complaints and at least two people taken to hospital."
Edgar confirmed that the council looked at ways to relocate the bird and also consulted with National Parks and Wildlife about the aggressive flyer and concluded that the magpie had to be euthanised.
"The decision was not taken lightly," he said. "At the end of the day, we have to think about public safety... something needed to be done".
Council claimed that the magpie was known to attack people outside of ‘swooping season’ and that its attacks are not linked to the protection of a nest.
Edgar added that shooting magpies was incredibly rare and could not recount another time council had used the method.
It's a decision that was met with anger and frustration, especially by urban ecologist and bird expert, Darryl Jones.
"It is completely ridiculous, there is no need to shoot [magpies]," he told 10 daily. "We've come a long way from that and the community doesn't tolerate it at all."
He explained that magpies have a home for life but if they are forcibly removed from that home and relocated more than 35 kilometres away, there is no chance it will find its way back.
"All of the ones we relocated had settled down a few kilometres from where they were released and had found a mate and had new chicks without any worry," Joes said.
Community members also shared the frustration.
"Can we have annoying cyclists removed from the roads?" one user wrote.
"I am so angry right now that I won't even comment," said another, sharing the post to a magpie lover's group.
Magpie breeding season happens between late August to mid-October each year during which male magpies become increasingly aggressive as they protect their chicks from threat.
The magpie management plan used by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service declares that: "If removal of [an agressive] bird is warranted, then the destruction of the animal is the only option that will be considered.