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Swooping season has begun in Ipswich

Spring may still be weeks away, but the region’s swooping birds are already active.

Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said council’s successful Aggressive Native Bird program has provided increased community safety and better outcomes for our native birds.

“Magpies, plovers, butcherbirds, kookaburras, crows, currawongs and peewees are the birds here in Ipswich most likely to exhibit swooping behaviours as they protect their eggs and young between July and November,” Cr Milligan said.

“Since council’s Aggressive Native Bird program was reviewed in 2019, council has seen a 360 per cent increase on service requests regarding swooping birds.

“However, due to the successful delivery of the program, council saw cost savings per request despite this increase.

“Council uses a range of mitigation approaches including signage, education programs and, in extreme circumstances, bird assessment and potential relocation by a suitable qualified fauna consultant.”

>>> For information about bird watching in Ipswich visit
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If you are swooped, refrain from yelling or throwing anything as this may harm the birds and may provoke more aggression from the bird at the time of the incident, and more vicious attacks in the future.

Here are a few practical tips to help keep you safe this swooping season:

  • Keep clear of the breeding area – magpies and plovers generally only swoop for up to six weeks of the year
  • Wear a hat
  • If you are riding your bike near a breeding area, dismount and walk as this can help stop the swooping behaviours
  • Avoid the defence zones by taking a different route while the bird is displaying aggressive behaviours
  • Hold a stick or umbrella up in the air as you walk to help deter the birds
  • Stick eye spots or stickers on the back of your bike helmet
  • Maintain eye contact with the aggressive bird if you have to enter the defence zone
  • Always leave young birds alone. They are commonly found at the base of a tree and are still learning to fly, trialling their skills with their parents close by
  • Educate the rest of your family, neighbourhood, school, staff and friends.

All native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and harming these native birds is against the law.

For more information about bird swooping season in Ipswich click here.

Cr Milligan said Ipswich’s diverse environment relies on all bird species and native animals for its health.

“All native animals including magpies and plovers play a vital role in our ecosystem health, including feeding on many insects such as midges and mosquitoes,” Cr Milligan said.

“Education is key to understanding these birds’ role in our environment and how to keep safe during their breeding season, so we can all live together.”

Council will continue to work with our community to manage the risks from aggressive native birds on council-owned land.

To report a swooping bird call council on 3810 6666 or email council@ipswich.qld.gov.au

For concerns regarding swooping birds on private property, call the Queensland Department of Environment and Science on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for advice, or engage a private fauna consultant for relocation services.

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