A SWOOPING magpie is facing death after environmental bureaucrats backed a plan to trap the “extremely aggressive” bird.
The black and white jouster has developed a fearsome reputation for its behaviour in one of Bright’s most popular parks along the Ovens River.
As a result, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has granted Alpine Shire an “authority to control wildlife permit” to take action against the magpie.
Alpine Shire director corporate Nathalie Cooke said a trap containing meat had been deposited at Howitt Park to ensnare the magpie, whose swooping has been a spring ritual in Bright.
"This is an extremely aggressive bird that is actually striking people in the face and we have had a number of reports and photos of people being struck,” Ms Cooke said.
“This bird is posing a legitimate health and safety risk to people who are using a council park.”
A child on a slide in the park is among the victims.
“We have a responsibility to protect visitors to our playgrounds, and we owe a duty of care to our community’s youngest members,” Ms Cooke said.
It is the first time Alpine Shire has received a permit to catch a magpie and Ms Cooke said DELWP had told the council that the bird would have to be killed.
“We had believed that relocation of the bird would be a possibility, unfortunately, it appears that euthanasia is the only course of action if this bird is trapped,” Ms Cooke said.
“This also means that unless its chicks have a second parent to feed them, they will not survive.
“This is unfortunate, and we understand that some members of the community will be extremely disappointed.”
DELWP program manager compliance operations Greg Chant said while his organisation generally supports not killing wildlife, “lethal control may be necessary” when “non-lethal techniques are ineffective or impractical”.
“The issuing of an ACTW permit to manage the risks of a swooping bird is not common in the North East,” Mr Chant said.
Bright Brewery general manager Rupert Shaw, whose work overlooks the park, supported the shire acting, although he would prefer the magpie lived.
“I think the council is doing the right thing moving it on, I wouldn’t like to see it terminated but I can’t see any harm in moving it on,” Mr Shaw said.
“It’s only doing what it does naturally but it’s got to the stage where it is more of a menace.”
Mr Shaw said he had ridden a bike to work and been swooped by the magpie.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here