When the magpies start to stir, you might need to be prepared!

Livingstone Shire Council has installed magpie warning signs at the Yeppoon beachfront, Beaman Park, Queen Street and Barry Street, and is also reminding residents and visitors to be mindful as we head into the traditional magpie breeding season in early Spring.

Magpies are territorial and protective of their young during the breeding season, but it’s usually only a few that will swoop and only for a few weeks each year.

Below are a few tips to consider:

  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies (painting or sticking large ‘eyes’ on the back of your hat can also deter magpies—but this won’t work for cyclists).
  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.
  • Avoid ‘defence zones’ by taking alternative routes during the breeding season.
  • If you must enter a ‘defense zone’, magpies will be less likely to swoop if they are watched constantly, or if people walk in a close group.
  • Waving sticks or umbrellas in the air or attaching a brightly colored flag on a long pole to your bicycle can stop magpies from swooping.

Responsibility for managing or removing magpies rests with the State Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Costs can apply and removal will only be undertaken in extenuating situations that meet certain criteria.

For further background information and safety tips, please go to or contact Council on 4913 5000 or 1300 790 919.