War declared on magpies terrorising posties

One magpie has been shot and another is in the line of fire after terrorising posties in Craigie Ave.

The frightened posties have tried everything from wire sticking out of their helmets to painted faces on the back of their head.

New Zealand Post Timaru delivery leader Neil Mattingley said the birds had been very persistent.

Jenni McDonald, a postie for 15 years, said she found that the only thing that worked was using a rolled-up piece of newspaper above her head .

"It came swooping over the park and turned away."

Pest controller Julian Blackler said that at first he tried to trap the magpies, but was not successful so watched for a few weeks and waited before dispatching one.

He said he had dispensation from police for discharging a weapon in a public place to shoot pests when required.

The remaining magpie sits in the trees in Anzac Square and swoops on the posties as they deliver in Rose St or Craigie Ave.

Mr Blackler described the bird as a "public nuisance".

"I'm keeping an eye on it."

He was not shocked that the bird seemed only interested in posties, he recalls a magpie in Geraldine a few years ago that only ever swooped on one particular boy in a family, and it remains a mystery.

Usually he gets only a couple of complaints a year about magpies, in spring when they are protecting their young.

The Timaru Herald