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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Operation Magpie

A large-scale, community-based study of magpies in South Australia, and how people interact with these birds.

Operation Magpie

Operation Magpie was a large-scale, community-based study of magpies in South Australia and how people interact with these birds. Over 2,000 people responded to an online survey instrument and many completed an observational study of Australian magpies.

Feeding birds is a common pastime for Australians and magpies are one of the most commonly fed birds. Respondents reported that they enjoy interacting with magpies because of their song and their interesting behaviour. Respondents also reported they dislike magpie “swooping” (a protective behaviour during breeding season) but this behaviour does not generally cause them to dislike magpies. Analysis of the results of Operation magpie is ongoing, and a report will be published during November, 2010. This report, along with broad a range of educational materials developed for the project, can be accessed from the Operation magpie website.

Operation Magpie was preceded by Operation Bluetongue (2007) and Operation Possum (2008), and followed by Operation Spider (2010).



Topic – bird, Australian magpie, management, attitudes

Audience - general audience, schools

Location - South Australia

Goals - conservation, education, sustainability



Barbara Hardy Centre, University of South Australia

891 ABC Adelaide

Department of Environment and Natural Resources



Philip Roetman, Researcher  email Philip

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