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Why masks confuse magpies and the CBD seagulls have ‘gone feral’

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Why masks confuse magpies and the CBD seagulls have ‘gone feral’

COVID-19 has had two big impacts when it comes to birds in Melbourne.

Magpies are swooping people they never did previously because it’s believe they’re confused by masks.

And the seagulls are getting more brazen when it comes to pinching food due to the lack of people in the CBD and Docklands.

Sean Dooley, National Public Affairs Manager for Birdlife Australia, said he suspected many gulls had already set up nests in the city, hence why they hadn’t moved elsewhere yet.

Neil Mitchell has received reports of gulls trying to take food out of people’s hands in the CBD, in a bid to feeding their young.

“Normally there would be so many people, and so much rubbish – seriously, the seagulls should be paid by council for the rubbish they take off the streets,” Mr Dooley said.

As for magpies swooping more people because of face masks, Mr Dooley said he wondered whether last year’s lockdown in Melbourne last breeding season could play in our favour.

“The magpies have had a whole season to adjust,” he explained.

“They are pretty smart birds and have worked out our behaviour.”

Press PLAY below to hear his bird insights

Picture by Getty iStock

Neil Mitchell
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