Aggressive Birds Policy

A number of Australian native bird species are territorial. Some species, such as magpies, butcherbirds and masked lapwings (plovers), establish and protect a territory during the breeding season. They may act aggressively to deter other birds or animals, domestic pets and even people, whom they perceive as being threats to their nests and chicks.

These seasonal behaviours, often conducted during spring, can be intimidating. While most birds only swoop and call loudly, a few birds may actually come into contact with people in an attempt to deter a threat. People can do various things to try to prevent possible injury in these circumstances.

OEH has developed a policy on the management of native birds that show aggression. This policy sets guidelines for OEH officers to respond to and manage encounters between people and aggressive birds.

The policy guides OEH staff in such things as:

  • providing practical advice and support for members of the public, to help them avoid aggressive bird encounters and deal with these encounters when they occur
  • determining when a bird is considered a risk to public safety, and understanding differing roles and responsibilities of staff on OEH-managed lands and on land managed by other people
  • developing and implementing education and awareness strategies, to build positive community attitudes to living with native birds
  • promoting partnerships with other organisations, such as local councils which also assist with these matters, to improve management of these issues
  • maintaining an ongoing record of responses to wildlife management, including incidents with aggressive birds, as a basis for monitoring and evaluation.

Documents to download
More information
  • OEH has prepared 'magpies swooping' brochures that can be easily printed and distributed by local councils and other groups. View a sample brochure (PDF - 28KB), and contact Richard Davies to get a template that you can use. 
Page last updated: 05 March 2014