Magpie shot dead by council after years of ‘very aggressive attacks’

Bird nicknamed Windsor Road Monster meets sticky end after reign of terror in which 40 people were attacked

Colin Drury
Tuesday 03 September 2019 16:00 BST
Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie (Getty)

It was a magpie both feared and admired in its native Australia for its series of aggressive swooping attacks on residents and tourists in Sydney.

The bird dive-bombed some 40 people in a three-year reign of terror, injuring some so severely they needed hospital treatment.

Now, the animal has paid the ultimate price for its aerial bombardments: a local official has shot it dead.

The city’s Hill Shire Council said it took the drastic action after one resident was said to have had a heart attack when beset by the winged terror.

Such was the bird’s fearsome reputation, the marksman who eventually took it out was said to have requested – and been granted – full support from New South Wales Police.

A council spokesperson told ABC News that officials had tried to move the bird – nicknamed the Windsor Road Monster after its stalking area – but, when that failed, a permit was taken out for a more permanent fix.

He added: “[The] council does not usually take action to remove or destroy magpies – the usual procedure is to signpost known risk areas, as birds are generally only aggressive for four to six weeks per year.

“Having regard to the number of complaints, number of confirmed injuries and ongoing risk associated with the location, and after having exhausted all practical alternatives to alleviate the risk, [the] council was issued a permit from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to engage a pest controller who humanely euthanised the bird to prevent further serious injuries.

“This course of action was not taken lightly.”

The National Parks and Wildlife Service added that the pesky passerine was “very aggressive” and “uncharacteristically territorial”.

Yet the shooting, carried out on Wednesday, has caused much consternation.

Emma Hurst, a Sydney MP for the Animal Justice party, said “This mother was simply protecting her young.

“Now her babies will likely starve to death or be hunted by other animals … What a sickening and brutal knee-jerk reaction from council.”

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Others questioned how being “humanely euthanised”, as the council termed it, could possibly equate to being shot.

The Australian magpie is a different species to the European bird with which it shares its name. During mating season, it can become aggressive and attack humans crossing its territory.

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