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.