A plan to kill two nesting magpies that have been dive-bombing passersby in a Sydney suburb has been slammed by MP Emma Hurst and other animal rights activists.
Ms Hurst said she will take the matter to State Parliament after Lane Cove Council proposed to kill a pair of magpies that have injured and bloodied numerous people.
The two birds have been wreaking havoc in the suburb for over two years – leaving many in the community afraid, but opinion remains divided about what, if anything, to do about it.
Johnston Crescent in particular has become a known location for magpie swooping, deterring locals from the area completely.
A local member of the community, who asked not to be named, told Central News the magpies had impacted the mental and emotional state of victims.
“It was enough to make me realise how damaging it is, not just physical but also psychological,” they said.
Lane Cove Council is proposing to kill local magpies who are protecting their nests. Shockingly the Council has reportedly hired a contractor to kill these protected native birds under a “License to Harm”.
This is a sickening and brutal knee-jerk reaction from Council. #nswpol
— Emma Hurst MP (@MlcHurst) September 8, 2021
Online reporting site Magpie Alert shows Australia has had 2,048 magpie attacks this year so far, with 512 in NSW – 88.9 per cent of these attacks resulting in an injury.
Lane Cove council initially focused on preventative measures, signs around the area, safety tips, feeding the birds and even supplying umbrellas for protection.
But after a long battle between the council and community; it was decided to cull the birds.
Ms Hurst said it shouldn’t even be an option for the native birds and their offspring, who are only doing what is in their nature.
“It’s not clear the council has even given any consideration to possible babies in the nest… they will starve to death or be hunted by other animals,” she said.
“Local councils need to adopt non-lethal measures for dealing with these protected native birds.”
Gisela Kaplan, emeritus professor in animal behaviour at the University of New England, said only during the four-week nesting season – when a female sits on the eggs – will males defend the territory. She described magpies as intelligent and generally non-aggressive birds.
“Aggression is always dysfunctional behaviour that doesn’t benefit the bird…. nor the recipient,” Ms Kaplan said.
— Rachel (@Gothy_Crow13) September 9, 2021
The reputation of the Hills Shire Council was tarnished when it faced the same issue two years ago and shot dead a magpie that had terrorised a neighbourhood for three years.
Ms Hunt has been supported by other members of the public, including some Lane Cove residents.
Local Shannon Kelly said it was a heartless decision.
“The council should be protecting native wildlife – not applying for licenses to kill them,” she added.