At this time of year, some native birds, including Australian magpies, masked lapwings (plovers) and butcherbirds, may swoop towards people to defend their young. For example, during their nesting season, a magpie may fly low and fast over a person, clacking its bill as it passes overhead. Although they rarely make contact, the experience can be frightening. The most serious injuries often occur when people fall or put themselves in greater danger while trying to avoid a swooping bird.
Magpies, lapwings and butcherbirds are native birds protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act). Where native birds are a threat to human safety, the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) may grant a Licence to Harm Native Animals under the BC Act to the landholder to have the bird euthanised. However, this can often be avoided by educating the community and promoting appreciation of our native wildlife.
DPIE Living with Australian Magpies(PDF, 2MB)
DPIE Living with Masked Lapwings (Plover)(PDF, 190KB)