Magpie attack leads to death of baby girl in Australia

The baby was in her mother’s arms who tripped and fell while trying to avoid a swooping magpie

Namita Singh
Monday 09 August 2021 13:35
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<p>File Image: Male magpies swoop to protect the chicks in the nest and attack only within 50 metres of the nest</p>

File Image: Male magpies swoop to protect the chicks in the nest and attack only within 50 metres of the nest

A baby girl died in Brisbane after her mother reportedly tripped and fell while trying to avoid a swooping magpie.

The infant was taken to the Queensland Children’s Hospital after she sustained critical injuries. She died later in the hospital.

The baby was in the arms of her mother, who was walking through Glindemann Park in Queensland’s Holland Park on Sunday, when the incident took place.

Councillor Kim Marx, chair of the City Standards, Community Health and Safety Committee, called it a tragic accident.

“This is an extremely tragic accident and our hearts go out to the family involved,” she was quoted as saying by multiple Australian publications.

“A number of signs warning about swooping birds were in place around the area where this incident occurred and our officers have now installed several more,” she said.

Explaining the reasons behind the swooping, Sean Dooley of BirdLife Australia told ABC News that male magpies swoop to protect chicks in the nest. "Swooping season only occurs when the male magpies are defending the chicks in the nest – so for that brief period where the chicks are really vulnerable," Mr Dooley said.

He added that the season typically occurs between July and December, and peaks in September.

“While it’s only the male magpies that swoop and only 10 per cent of males do swoop … the consequences, especially when people are caught unaware, can be truly terrifying and devastating,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the Department for Environment and Water, South Australia, a single magpie swoops only for about six weeks until their chicks grow enough to leave the nest and attacks only within 50 metres of their nest. They return to the same nesting area every year.

The website also shares some guidelines to avoid being swooped, including carrying an open umbrella above the head, wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. It suggests that a person should walk instead of running when they see a magpie coming their way and not act aggressively, for the bird might see you as a threat if you wave your arms or shout.

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