"Vicious, aggressive bird stalks cyclist": The Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) in the news
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The Australian Magpie ( Cracticus tibicen ) is a common bird found in urban Australian environments where its nest defense behavior during spring brings it into conflict with humans. This article explores the role of print media in covering this conflict. Leximancer software was used to analyze newspaper reports about the Australian Magpie from a sample of 634 news stories, letters-to-the editor and opinion pieces, published in newspapers from around Australia between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2014. The results confirm that stories about these birds are primarily published in the daily regional and weekly suburban press, and that the dominant story frame concerns the risk of “swooping” behavior to cyclists and pedestrians from birds protecting their nests during the spring breeding season. The most prominent sources used by journalists are local and state government representatives, as well as members of the public. The results show that the “swooping season” has become a normal part of the annual news cycle for these publications, with the implication that discourse surrounding the Australian Magpie predominantly concerns the risk these birds pose to humans, and ignores their decline in non-urban environments.
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Zoology not elsewhere classified