Sydneysider Tip #2: watch out for swooping birds (and bats)

TIP FROM: Kathy Sinclair of the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage

Magpies often see Sydneysiders as potential predators with designs on their chicks, so maybe it really is time to watch – ya back. Following in the footsteps of the Victorian Government, the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage is considering investing two million dollars in an anti-swooping campaign, a move which would result in the abandonment of the North West Rail Link.

‘I know that the suspension of the North West Rail Link project would disappoint many. But we cannot be there rinsing the cash on glitzy trains when residents across Sydney are under threat from these gangs of hostile magpies,’ assured Kathy in a press conference yesterday.

‘Most of the time, I’m quite a busy person who rarely complains, least of all about our feathered friends,’ says Kathy Sinclair of the government department. ‘Indeed, we all have a little warble to ourselves sometimes, don’t we? But I know how malicious some magpies, and other birds of a pied appearance, can be. Some maggies have recently installed themselves outside my residence and the swooping has been relentless, day and night. It’s terrifying and Sydney’s residents are sick of it.’

So what evasive action can you take, if you are under threat of being swooped? Kathy’s tips:

> Know your local swooping hotspots (check out the ‘Magpie Map’ that will soon be available in NSW);

> Wear eyes on the back of your head;

> Travel in a group – safety in numbers;

> Put up a sign, warn others;

> Create a ‘hedgehog helmet’ to ensure maximum safety;

‘Some of these strategies may not work against some birds. But above all, don’t get in a flap. No, literally, flapping hand-actions are extremely provocative for the birds and situations have been known to quickly deteriorate,’ advises Kathy. ‘Note also that we have received reports that fruit bats have been mimicking this deviant swooping behaviour and evidence suggests that this is due to the bad influence of the magpies. Other birds have assimilated into suburban life with no problem, however, these birds believe that they are the exception to the rule. It’s just not on.’

Kathy has also ensured that, through slight increases in GST, funds have been channelled into the creation of ‘swoop-off’ kits, available for just $69.95. These kits contain all the basics you need for minimising swooping risk.

The “Swoop-Off” Kit [shoes, sunglasses, helmet, bag, spray gun & cable ties not included]

Kathy urges you to report swooping incidents to the customer service line, or tweet the location of any swooping incidents using the hashtags #swoopNSW #enough #bestpieisadeadpie

‘Yes, there was some robust debate within the parliament about this new government agenda. But I will not be silenced while Sydneysiders suffer. I will not stand idly by while magpies sharpen their beaks and wreak havoc. Who do these magpies think they are, terrorising our communities? Besides, I’m sick of spending all my time on bush regeneration projects, only to have it all burnt down by some loony pyromaniac. No, it’s all eyes on the pies.’


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