Wollongong City Council will install more signs but will not relocate magpies that swooped cyclists on Sunday causing one man to become distracted, fall off and die.
Police are investigating the death of a 76-year-old Alan Seaman who was riding his pushbike near Woonona Surf Life Saving Club when he reportedly rode off the path to avoid a swooping magpie on Sunday morning.
Mr Seaman then collided with a fence post near Nicholson Park, causing him to be thrown to the ground, sustaining serious head injuries.
The former school principal was airlifted to St George Hospital in a critical condition and died later that night.
In a tribute to his grandfather, Michael Koutsoufis posted a picture of the two drinking beers on Facebook, with the caption "next beers on me pop".
A Wollongong council spokesman said the organisation was deeply saddened to hear about the man's death.
"Council has been made aware of some conflicting reports around how the incident occurred and we, along with concerned community members, will await further updates from the NSW Police," he said.
"We will be placing additional signage and decals on the shared pathway to alert people to the swooping behaviour."
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said magpies were a protected species in the state and were part of the natural environment.
He said the council had not considered relocating or humanely killing problematic magpies and taking that action would be a decision made by NPWS.
"I don't want rangers going around killing magpies," Cr Bradbery said. "If trapping or relocating magpies is a possible solution than it must be approved by NPWS."
He said it was more important for residents to be made aware that magpies often swooped during their nesting season.
"People can report swooping birds and council can install signage," he said.
"We don't want people to become vigilantes and remove the birds."
A NPWS spokesman said destroying magpies was a "last resort".
"On occasion magpies that have caused or are considered to pose a significant risk of injury can be destroyed by permit from the NPWS," he said.
"The permit is generally issued to the landholder who is then able to use a legal and humane method which is appropriate for the circumstances to destroy the bird.
"People can reduce the chance of being swooped by avoiding known magpie nest sites.
"If this is not possible, walk quickly and carefully away from the area, or dismount from your bicycle/horse."
Magpies are generally not aggressive for most of the year but will swoop to protect their territory during their nesting period, which is generally between August and October.
In early September, the council placed a sign advising people to take care around the Woonona Surf Lifesaving Club area as there were magpies nesting and swooping.
Menacing magpies can be reported to council's customer service team.
A report on the man's death will be prepared for the Coroner.
Tips for magpie swooping season
- Try to avoid the area. Do not go back after being swooped. Magpies are very intelligent and have a great memory. They will target the same people if you persist on entering their nesting area. Make a sign to warn other people about the swooping magpie.
- Be aware of where the bird is. Most will usually swoop from behind. They are much less likely to target you if they think they are being watched. Try drawing eyes on the back of a helmet or hat. You can also hold a long stick in the air to deter swooping.
- Keep calm and do not panic. Walk away quickly but do not run. If you are really concerned, place your folded arms above your head to protect your head and eyes.
- If you are on your bicycle or horse, dismount. Calmly walk away with your bike/horse out of the nesting territory. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach pipe cleaners or straws to your helmet or a tall red safety flag to your bicycle as a deterrent.
- Never harass or provoke nesting birds. A harassed bird will distrust you and as they have a great memory this will ultimately make you a bigger target in future. Do not throw anything at a bird or nest, and never climb a tree and try to remove eggs or chicks.
- Teach children what to do. Educating kids about the birds and what they can do to avoid being swooped will help them keep calm if they are targeted. Its important children learn to protect their face.