A SECOND toddler had his eye pecked by a magpie after he was swooped on Sunday in the same area of Whiteman Park where another young boy had his eye pierced by a bird’s beak.
Bodee White, 3, escaped serious injury in the attack but suffered scratches on his eyeball and face after he was swooped about 10.30am.
The toddler was looking at ducks on the same grassed area where one-year-old Jacob Gale suffered a serious puncture to his eye that required surgery to remove the lens.
Whiteman Park confirmed today an application for a licence to destroy the bird had been approved because it posed a clear danger to the public and could be identified.
Bodee’s mother Rebecca White said she was shocked when the bird, which had been sitting on the grass, suddenly swooped her son.
“All of a sudden it flew his face and scratched his face and scratched his eye and he obviously got very distressed and started screaming,” she said.
“That’s when the magpies came back a second time and my mum managed to swat it away with her bag. It was more of a flapping motion towards his face.”
Ms White said initially she had thought Bodee had only suffered a scratch underneath his eye and took him to the ambulance paramedic nearby.
But she said on closer inspection she realised his eyeball had been damaged as well.
“We noticed when he looked all the way over to the right the bird had actually scratched the white part of his eye,” she said.
Bodee was rushed to hospital but Ms White said his vision had not been affected and that he would just need to apply cream for the next few days to prevent infection.
Curtin University wildlife biologist and senior lecturer Bill Bateman said magpies were particularly aggressive at this time of year because they were breeding.
“It is usually the males that get aggressive when there are eggs and their young in the nest,” Dr Bateman said.
“They are responding to humans as if they are predators and the best way to scare a predator off is to go for their head and go for their eyes.”
“There seems to be some variation between individual birds. You can get some magpies that just do not react to humans at all and some that are hyper aggressive.”
Dr Bateman said in WA magpies were less aggressive that in the eastern states but he said as bird populations grew the number of attacks would likely increase.
”It seems to be living in Perth we have this fantastic city with lots of green spaces which is perfect for people but also perfect for magpies,” he said.
“We’ve got a very high population of magpies living in the city. As the number of magpies increase there is an increased chance of interactions.”