Management of aggressive Australian magpies by translocation.
Attacks on humans by Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) cause a significant human-wildlife conflict in suburban environments throughout Australia. Community opposition to lethal control methods generally has, in part, led to an increase in the use of translocation as an alternative. We assessed the effectiveness and implications of using this approach in the management of aggressive magpie in south-eastern Queensland during 1999 and 2000. A total of 968 (1999) and 707 (2000) magpies were reported by the public, of which 39-45% were able to be investigated by a two-person team working three days per week. A total of 141 magpies were translocated, 31.7% of all birds investigated. Of these, only five (3.5%) returned to the place of capture, and 22 (15.6%) were resighted elsewhere; there was no evidence of 'homing'. Only three translocated birds were subsequently reported as being aggressive towards humans. While extremely effective in reducing the conflict locally, we caution against the indiscriminate use of this method, and suggest that it be seen as one of many options available to wildlife managers.