Magpie risk to schoolkids

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
David Barker is worried his child Dana, 4 and Jeremy 3, will be attacked by the swooping magpie at Busselton Primary School
Camera IconDavid Barker is worried his child Dana, 4 and Jeremy 3, will be attacked by the swooping magpie at Busselton Primary School Credit: Pictures: Jackson Lavell-Lee, Jackson Lavell-Lee

Busselton residents have been warned to be aware of swooping magpies this nesting season.

The advice follows several incidents at Busselton Primary School, where a territorial bird has been menacing students as they arrive at school.

Teachers and older students have been forced to shepherd younger children into the school building with umbrellas at drop-off and pick-up times.

David Barker, whose four-year-old daughter attends kindergarten at the school, said children were afraid of the native bird which could be seen swooping on unsuspecting students and parents “over 100 times a day”.

He called for the offending bird to be relocated away from the school.

“You can clearly see the likelihood of an injury and the severity could be devastating,” he said

“Someone could lose an eye and that could affect them and their family for the rest of their lives.”

The sign erected to warn students of the risk of being swooped
Camera IconThe sign erected to warn students of the risk of being swooped Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times, Jackson Lavell-Lee

However, a spokesman from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said removing and relocating adult birds or their young was not an option because of their territorial nature.

“If a magpie poses a serious safety risk to people, a dangerous fauna licence may be issued to destroy the bird,” he said.

“If a licence is issued it is the responsibility of the land owner or manager to undertake the control measures.”School principal Jeremy Shepherd said the school had taken advice from DBCA but was not prepared to destroy the bird and its family.

Mr Shepherd said nesting season only lasted a few weeks.

“We have taken many steps to reduce the risk of children and adults being swooped, including keeping students away from a known swooping area during school time,” Mr Shepherd said.

“We have also educated students about ways to protect themselves,” he said.

A sign has been erected at the school warning passersby.

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