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Magpies are native birds protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. This makes it against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young.
Parkes Shire Council has no powers to authorise or carry out the destruction of magpies and cannot discharge a firearm in the town limits.
For most of the year magpies are not aggressive, but for four to six weeks during nesting they will often defend their territory vigorously. People walking past may be seen as 'invaders' of the territory, prompting the magpies to fly low and fast over the person, clacking their beaks as they pass overhead.
The experience of a magpie attack can be quite alarming, but it is usually only a warning.
Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws. If this unusual behaviour persists, there are ways of reducing the risk of physical injury to humans.
If a magpie swoops at you:
Residents can track and record swooping magpies in the local area using Magpie Alert.
If you feel a magpie is a risk to public safety that cannot be adequately mitigated by these measure you should report the matter to the nearest National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) office who may issue a license for the destruction of the bird.
The NPWS is under no obligation to arrange for the destruction of a bird in a public place, cannot obligate police to destroy the bird and is not responsible for meeting the cost of a pest controller or licensed bird trapper.
For further information on dealing with Magpies during the breeding season visit the NSW Environment and Heritage website.