Brisbane magpie tragedy: Tributes paid to five-month-old baby girl killed in freak accident

Five-month-old Mia suffered a serious head injury and died in hospital after she and her mother Simone were swooped by an aggressive magpie in Brisbane's south-east on Sunday

Five-month-old Mia suffered a serious head injury and died in hospital after she and her mother Simone were swooped by an aggressive magpie in Brisbane's south-east on Sunday

Five-month-old Mia suffered a serious head injury and died in hospital after she and her mother Simone were swooped by an aggressive magpie in Brisbane’s south-east on Sunday

A baby girl who was killed in a freak magpie swooping accident has been remembered by her grieving family as a ‘little ray of sunshine’.

Paramedics were called to Holland Park West in Brisbane‘s southeast at 12.05pm on Sunday after five-month-old Mia suffered a serious head injury when she and her mother Simone were swooped by an aggressive magpie.

Her mother ducked to avoid the magpie in Glindemann Park and tripped over with the baby her arms. 

The youngster was taken to Queensland Children Hospital but later died.

The baby’s loved ones have since come together to help her mother and her father Jacob grieve and pay for the cost of Mia’s funeral. 

In a touching online tribute to the youngster, her aunts told how Mia’s parents ‘constantly doted over her’ and ‘showered her with love’.

‘The joy Mia brought to all of our lives cannot be described in words, but is certainly felt in all of our hearts,’ the GoFundMe fundraiser reads. 

The baby's aunts told how her parents 'constantly doted over her' and 'showered her with love'

The baby's aunts told how her parents 'constantly doted over her' and 'showered her with love'

The baby’s aunts told how her parents ‘constantly doted over her’ and ‘showered her with love’

Flowers are left at the scene after the five-month-old was killed in a freak magpie swooping accident on Sunday

Flowers are left at the scene after the five-month-old was killed in a freak magpie swooping accident on Sunday

Flowers are left at the scene after the five-month-old was killed in a freak magpie swooping accident on Sunday

‘Jacob and Simone have not asked for anything but time – time to grieve the loss of their stunning little ray of sunshine.’

The fundraiser told how two of Mia’s aunts were desperately trying to get an exemption so they could enter Queensland and support the grieving parents.

‘Raising some money would not only help Jacob and Simone pay for the cost of Mia’s funeral, but would enable Jacob and Simone to take as much time away from work and the world as they need,’ the sisters wrote.

‘We ask you as their family, their friends, their acquaintances, or even strangers, to donate whatever you can to allow them to take as long as they need to grieve.

‘We love you both Jacob and Simone, and will forever love you Mia….Fly high baby girl.’ 

A witness to the horrific accident had earlier praised the baby girl’s ‘heroic’ father for calling triple-zero immediately and doing ‘everything he could’ to save his child’s life. 

‘I’ve seen shock before but this was beyond anything I’d ever seen,’ the man told the Courier Mail

A well-wisher pays tribute at the scene on Tuesday. Residents said the bird loiters around the Nursery Road side of the park - the same strip where the woman and baby were attacked on Sunday

A well-wisher pays tribute at the scene on Tuesday. Residents said the bird loiters around the Nursery Road side of the park - the same strip where the woman and baby were attacked on Sunday

A well-wisher pays tribute at the scene on Tuesday. Residents said the bird loiters around the Nursery Road side of the park – the same strip where the woman and baby were attacked on Sunday

Pictured is a pedestrian holding a stick on the road outside the south-east Brisbane park. Multiple warning signs around Glindemann Park urge residents to be wary of swooping magpies

Pictured is a pedestrian holding a stick on the road outside the south-east Brisbane park. Multiple warning signs around Glindemann Park urge residents to be wary of swooping magpies

Pictured is a pedestrian holding a stick on the road outside the south-east Brisbane park. Multiple warning signs around Glindemann Park urge residents to be wary of swooping magpies 

A resident cycles through Glindemann Park with a camera attached to his helmet on Tuesday morning. Many locals say they have been left with bloody wounds after run-ins with the magpie

A resident cycles through Glindemann Park with a camera attached to his helmet on Tuesday morning. Many locals say they have been left with bloody wounds after run-ins with the magpie

A resident cycles through Glindemann Park with a camera attached to his helmet on Tuesday morning. Many locals say they have been left with bloody wounds after run-ins with the magpie

A flower is pictured left at the scene on Tuesday. A witness to the horrific accident had earlier praised the baby girl's 'heroic' father for doing 'everything he could' to save his child's life

A flower is pictured left at the scene on Tuesday. A witness to the horrific accident had earlier praised the baby girl's 'heroic' father for doing 'everything he could' to save his child's life

A flower is pictured left at the scene on Tuesday. A witness to the horrific accident had earlier praised the baby girl’s ‘heroic’ father for doing ‘everything he could’ to save his child’s life

City of Brisbane workers have taped off the park after the baby's death. Pictured is a well-wisher after leaving flowers at the scene

City of Brisbane workers have taped off the park after the baby's death. Pictured is a well-wisher after leaving flowers at the scene

City of Brisbane workers have taped off the park after the baby’s death. Pictured is a well-wisher after leaving flowers at the scene

A warning sign is pictured telling Glindemann Park users to 'walk quickly through the area' and to get off their bike and walk if they are cycling through the park

A warning sign is pictured telling Glindemann Park users to 'walk quickly through the area' and to get off their bike and walk if they are cycling through the park

A warning sign is pictured telling Glindemann Park users to ‘walk quickly through the area’ and to get off their bike and walk if they are cycling through the park

He praised the baby girl’s ‘heroic’ father for quickly calling Triple-0 while trying to do ‘everything he could’.  

‘It’s sickening I suppose, seeing a family torn apart in one quick moment,’ his wife added.  

On Monday meanwhile it emerged a concerned resident had issued an eerie warning urging others to be aware of an aggressive magpie terrorising a local park just days before the swooping incident.

The man sternly advised residents to avoid Glindemann Park after he was attacked multiple times.

Others too said they had been attacked and left bloodied by the wild bird.

Flowers are pictured at the scene on Tuesday morning. Mia's mother ducked to avoid the magpie and tripped over with the baby her arms

Flowers are pictured at the scene on Tuesday morning. Mia's mother ducked to avoid the magpie and tripped over with the baby her arms

Flowers are pictured at the scene on Tuesday morning. Mia’s mother ducked to avoid the magpie and tripped over with the baby her arms

Another resident said he reported the bird to the council about eight weeks ago after being swooped but the bird was not removed (pictured, a warning sign erected in the park )

It was one of many stories shared online in the wake of the infant’s death, with dozens of locals coming forward to share stories of being chased by the territorial magpie.

‘It is magpie season again [and] there’s a particularly aggressive one who nests every year in the large gum tree at the end of Glindemann Park,’ a man wrote in a local Facebook group on July 31. 

‘[I] suggest [using] an alternative route or if you have to [use it] keep an eye out, and don’t turn your back on him – just walk calmly through, waving your hands above your head if you have to.

‘He’s given me a few nips over the years whilst doing bush care down here.’

Masked council workers put up a warning sign urging residents to be wary of nesting magpies on Tuesday

Masked council workers put up a warning sign urging residents to be wary of nesting magpies on Tuesday

Masked council workers put up a warning sign urging residents to be wary of nesting magpies on Tuesday

Pictured is a magpie in Glindemann Park on Tuesday. A man who lived in the area had warned other residents to avoid the park after he was attacked multiple times

Pictured is a magpie in Glindemann Park on Tuesday. A man who lived in the area had warned other residents to avoid the park after he was attacked multiple times

Pictured is a magpie in Glindemann Park on Tuesday. A man who lived in the area had warned other residents to avoid the park after he was attacked multiple times

Another magpie flies across the suburban Brisbane park on Tuesday morning. Brisbane City Council workers captured the bird that swooped on the mother and her baby at 3pm on Monday

Another magpie flies across the suburban Brisbane park on Tuesday morning. Brisbane City Council workers captured the bird that swooped on the mother and her baby at 3pm on Monday

Another magpie flies across the suburban Brisbane park on Tuesday morning. Brisbane City Council workers captured the bird that swooped on the mother and her baby at 3pm on Monday

The man said the bird loiters around the Nursery Road side of the park – the same strip where the woman and baby were attacked on Sunday. 

Many locals said they had experienced similar run-ins with the feathered creature, which left some with bloody wounds. 

One mother said her children were attacked by the same bird, and were wounded on their cheeks, very close to their eyes, despite wearing helmets. 

‘That one has nipped my left ear the past two years and drew blood, right where the earlobe joins my face,’ another woman said.

‘I’ve spoken to others who have also been nipped on their left ear by this same bird.’

A child is lifted over the fencing at Glindemann Park on Tuesday morning. Locals have reported experiencing similar run-ins with the aggressive magpie

A child is lifted over the fencing at Glindemann Park on Tuesday morning. Locals have reported experiencing similar run-ins with the aggressive magpie

A child is lifted over the fencing at Glindemann Park on Tuesday morning. Locals have reported experiencing similar run-ins with the aggressive magpie

A man urged residents to steer clear of the park after he was repeatedly attacked by the magpie

A man urged residents to steer clear of the park after he was repeatedly attacked by the magpie

A man urged residents to steer clear of the park after he was repeatedly attacked by the magpie

‘He got me too. Luckily only got my sunnies,’ another replied. 

One woman said the ‘very aggressive’ bird relentlessly swooped her as she walked 500 metres, while another said her father-in-law, who is on blood thinners, bled profusely after it cut his head. 

Some claim they had previously reported it to the council, but no action was taken to relocate the animal until the little girl’s death.  

Meanwhile, community members have offered their condolences to the grieving family in posts on social media. 

‘So sorry for this family’s loss. Incredibly sad,’ one post read.  

The mother was being swooped by the magpie in Glindemann Park (pictured) when she tripped while carrying her baby

The mother was being swooped by the magpie in Glindemann Park (pictured) when she tripped while carrying her baby

The mother was being swooped by the magpie in Glindemann Park (pictured) when she tripped while carrying her baby

The magpie (stock image) was captured by council workers and taken away in a cage - after numerous complaints from locals fell on deaf ears

The magpie (stock image) was captured by council workers and taken away in a cage - after numerous complaints from locals fell on deaf ears

The magpie (stock image) was captured by council workers and taken away in a cage – after numerous complaints from locals fell on deaf ears

‘This is just so sad. It makes me angry and incredibly devastated at the same time. 

‘The poor mother (especially) and father would be suffering in unbearable and unbelievable grief,’ another wrote. 

‘So very sad. Prayers and thoughts for the heartbroken family,’ a third said.  

Two Brisbane City Council workers captured the magpie at 3pm on Monday and took it away in a cage, after taping off the park and erecting warning signs.  

Swooping, which is only carried out by male magpies, is an uncommon trait among the species, with only around 10 per cent of the males using the technique to defend their nests.   

Brisbane City Standards are investigating the incident and police are preparing a report for the coroner. 

Why do magpies swoop?

Magpies begin sweeping around peak breeding season from August through to November. 

During breeding season, magpies are mainly trying to defend their nest and its inhabitants. Breeding sites for the magpies are in short supply, and once the site has been gained, the magpies must defend it to prevent the territory being reduced or seized.

Male magpies will defend the nest during breeding season until the eggs are laid and the young birds are developed. This means that they will attack anything they consider to be a potential threat such as humans or animals by swooping down with a fast flight which can lead to contact being made.

Magpies will usually attack from behind so facing them has been known to halt a possible attack.

Male adult magpies use body language such as beak clapping, whooshing above the head and screeching to warn you to stay away from their nest with eggs or newly-hatched chicks.  

Experts recommend you don’t fight back or try to run away from the magpie quickly. The main thing is to stay calm as panicking will make the magpie more aggressive and cause more swooping. It is advised that you move away from the area slowly.

HOW TO AVOID SWOOPING 

 – If your usual route is near a magpie’s nesting area, try to change your route for the breeding season

– Protect your face by covering up with sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. You could also hold an open umbrella above your head

–  If you know an area has swooping magpies, put up signs to warn other residents to avoid the area 

Sources: The Australian Museum, PETA Australia

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