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A Queensland toddler has been left bloodied and shaken after a savage magpie attack, prompting his mum to issue a warning to other parents.

Ashleigh Ferguson says her boys, aged two and three, had been to the park in Tinana, on the Fraser Coast, for the first time two days before the attack. She says it’s a quiet park, perfect for her two special needs boys, and while she did notice a magpie the first time they visited, it stayed clear of the family.

“We decided to go again but taking their toddler trikes and walking to the playground from a different entrance,” Ashleigh told Mouths of Mums. “My three-year-old and my partner were a distance behind us. Jordan, my two-year-old was right beside me, he had stopped to watch some ants.

“I looked over and there was a magpie looking at me but flew off so I call his name, turned and went to take a step when he started to cry (he is non verbal). I instantly saw the blood, scooped him up, cradled his head and put pressure on it and ran to my partner and other son 250m away. By the time I got to my partner, my hand was covered in blood. I told him what had happened and he grabbed my other child and we ran back to the car which was five minutes away.”

Toddler magpie attack

By the time the family arrived at the car, Jordan had stopped crying, so they cleaned him up using their first aid kit. “We called my partners mum who is a nurse and just follow her instructions. No stitches required and he was following some other birds in our backyard later that day.”

Ashleigh decided to share her story and a photo of Jordan’s bloody wound to her local Maryborough Community Facebook page, as a warning for other parents. And she discovered others had been targeted by the same magpie.

“In all honesty, we just wanted to warn others because we would hate for someone else (child or adult) to be injured. We didn’t expect the response we got. Now hearing how many others have been attacked by the same magpie, it’s concerning. I’m a huge animal lover, my mum is a vet nurse and I’ve rescued and fostered many animals over the years but maybe relocating this particular bird to a quieter area is in the best interest of the community and the bird as well.”

In a statement to Mouths of Mums, Fraser Coast Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said he can sympathise with little Jordan, having been subjected to ‘many surprise swoops over the years’.

“Council had placed two warning signs at the park, one at the toilet block and one at the playground, to alert parents and children to watch for magpies.”

He explained that the council is limited in how it can respond to aggressive birds, as magpies are protected wildlife and are the responsibility of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, with council not having any legal right to relocate magpies.

The Council has received 12 calls regarding aggressive birds and warning signs have been placed in six locations in Hervey Bay and five locations in Maryborough. “Unfortunately, it is breeding season so the birds can be aggressive as they protect their young,” Cr Everard said. “If you are heading out please wear a hat and take care. The breeding season is usually finished by mid-December.”

A Brisbane study found that only nine per cent of magpies are actually aggressive towards people.

Why do magpies swoop?

According to Peta it all has to do with protecting their babies. Magpies nest between August and October in Australia, with the dad magpie responsible for protecting the chicks. He does this by chasing away any threats that wander within 50 metres of the nest.

How can you avoid being swooped?

  • If you know there’s a magpie nesting area, steer clear for the six weeks between August and October.
  • Wear head protection, like sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Carry an umbrella just in case you happen to stumble upon a magpie nesting area, and use it above your head as protection.
  • Keep your cool and keep moving, and if you’re being swooped while riding a bike, you may be better off dismounting and walking.
  • Don’t be aggressive or shout and wave your arms around. The magpie will think you’re a threat.
  • Don’t approach baby magpies on the ground. They’re usually just learning to fly and mum and dad won’t be far away.
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  • I’m so sorry that this happened to your family.

    We have an entirely different scenario with magpies and their babies in our front yard. We can hand feed them including mamma and they are beautiful friendly birds.

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  • I’ve never been swooped by a magpie but it’s frightening to know the damage they can cause to a person. We have quite a few around our area and I’ve even had parents with their youngsters in our back yard. I just talk normally about anything that comes to mind in a soft and level tone and they just fly off and sit on the fence until I go away. Maybe they are just used to me, but if I go for a walk I have my hat on and will use my walking stick if I need to so I can protect my dog and myself from being swooped

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  • My son is very afraid of magpies. He refuse to go bike ride because of magpies.

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  • I am petrified of magpies when they swoop. We have some in our area and I am trying to talk to them and befriend them in the hope we can be friends and they won’t swoop me!

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  • It is horrible this happened and I definitely try to give them space I swooping season! Magpies wings make a particular sound when they swoop different to other birds, if you aren’t sure you can always hear them!! It is horrible and I would t wish this on anyone, but they are just trying to protect their babies as all on here would with our own! Leave them be if you’re a regular magpies remember people/routine that keeps some people safe!

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  • I hate magpies! That poor child!

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  • I’ve been stalked by a magpie before but never actually swooped or attacked. However, if a bird is that bad they should be able to relocate it. They relocate crocodiles for crying out loud, why not birds?

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  • There was a park in the Blue Mountains we used to stop at regularly to use the toilets or have some lunch. We stopped one day when my daughter was about 4 to have a picnic. The magpies were very aggressive and we all got swooped at least once. One actually made contact with my daughters face and she ended up with a small cut next to her eye. It was a pretty short lived picnic where we all sat as still as possible, quickly ate our food and left.
    Now whenever we drive through the Blue Mountains we try not to stop at that same park between August and November. I have found alternatives where the wildlife is not so aggressive.


    • That’s actually so frightens, sorry that happened to your family:(

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  • I’ve been swooped but never hit. It’s frightening.

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  • I hope his head heals okay and he is not traumatised.

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  • Ohh poor little one. This is so scary!

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  • They are nasty buggers when they swoop I experienced it as a child riding bikes so scary but was never hit by one this scares me we have a family of magpies that live in a tree right near my house so far they haven’t been bothered by us hopefully stays that way.

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  • Oh my goodness. That poor little boy. This is one of my greatest fears and I just desperately try to avoid areas where magpies are. I’ve been swooped a number of times where I’ve flapped and waved my arms trying to stop it. It is very frightening.

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  • So scary for everyone involved, hope he’s okay and recovers quickly. We are always on alert this time of year with nesting magpies


    • My 11yr old has a conduct disorder and RAD; she always tries to provoke magpies !
      A week orso ago we had a mum & baby magpie in front of our house and she started to throw sticks to the baby magpie and then shouting I needed to unlock the front door is the mum magpie tried to swoop her….

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  • Terrible I was attacked while on a bike. Scared for days can’t imagine what the boy is going through afterwards.

    Reply

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