BIKERS, runners and pedestrians are looking to the skies in fear, as a familiar vicious, swooping menace returns for spring.

It is nesting season, and with that the magpie attacks have begun.

Just days into September there have been three reports of territorial magpies swooping Mackay, Whitsundays and Isaac residents on the website, Magpie Alert.

Reported incidents have occurred on Glenella-Richmond Rd, Glenella, on Brand Rd, Mirani, and on Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale.

No one is immune from the magpies' wrath, with reports of attacks on cyclists, pedestrians and young children.


Magpie season is underway with swooping becoming more frequent in Gladstone.

Photo Christopher Chan / The Observer
Magpie season is under way, with swooping becoming more frequent in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region. Christopher Chan GLA200912MAGP

Mackay Region councillor Ayril Paton said territorial magpies were a yearly problem.

"A small percentage of male magpies act aggressively in defence of their nests," Cr Paton said.

"These magpies will try to deter pedestrians and cyclists from approaching their nesting area by swooping, beating their wings, clicking their beaks and, in the case of more aggressive birds, occasionally pecking.

Cr Paton said the territorial fathers would guard 100m around the nest for the six weeks the chicks were still there.

Last year 32 attacks were recorded to Magpie Alert in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions, and all but one resulted in injury.

The worst swooping hotspot was Sophia St, Mackay, where 11 separate attacks were recorded.

Cr Paton said council responded to requests regarding aggressive magpies on council land on a case-by-case basis.

Since magpies are a native Australian bird they are protected under the Nature Conservation Act , and it is illegal to harm the birds or their eggs.

Typically, Cr Paton said, the council would put up magpie warning signs where aggressive magpies have been reported.


A Mackay Regional Council warning about an aggressive magpie territory at Mackay Harbour.
A Mackay Regional Council warning about an aggressive magpie's territory at Mackay Harbour. Zizi Averill

"If an aggressive magpie is causing problems on private property, landholders are advised to contact the Department of Environment and Science," he said.

Nationally, Magpie Alert has received reports of 745 attacks, 88 resulting in injuries this year.

Scroll into your suburb to see the swooping hotspots in your neighbourhood. 

Please note the interactive map may not function in the Daily Mercury mobile app. 

Historically, the hotspots magpie's are known to target in the region include:

Mackay Central and CBD area

River St, near Macalister St, Mackay

Mangrove Rd, near Victoria St, Mackay

Shakespeare St, near Nebo Rd, Mackay

Sophia St, Mackay

Alfred St, near Brisbane St, Mackay

Shakespeare St, near Porter St, Mackay

East Mackay

Binnington Esp, East Mackay

West Mackay

Hume St, near Oates St, West Mackay

North Mackay

John Breen Park, North Mackay

The Gooseponds, North Mackay

Mackay Harbour

East Point Drive, Mackay Harbour

Mt Pleasant

Greenfields Shopping Centre, Mt Pleasant

Highway Plaza, Mt Pleasant


Jenvey Ct, Bucasia

Rural View

Kidston Ave , near Theodore Crescent, , Rural View


West St, near Staytes Rd, Marian


Tollington Rd, near Cunningham Park, Bowen

Wests Ln, Bowen

Golf Links Rd, Bowen.

Data source: Magpie Attacks 2018

For more information regarding magpie safety and reporting incidents, visit