Sydney, Australia (CNN) – An Australian family mourns the loss of a five-month-old baby who died after her mother tried to protect her from a magpie that swooped down on them.
Baby Mia was in her mother’s arms when a magpie pounced on them in Brisbane City’s Glindemann Park on Sunday, causing her mother to trip and fall.
Mia was rushed to hospital but later died from injuries sustained in the fall, according to the Queensland Ambulance Service.
“The parents and the witnesses did a really fantastic job. They made us get there very quickly and allowed the little girl to have the best possible opportunity,” Tom Holland, a paramedic who attended the scene, told a press conference.
“Even as paramedics, this is an incredibly rare and tragic event,” Holland said. “It was a very painful scene, my thoughts are with the parents of the baby.”
Family members launched a fundraising campaign to help cover the costs of Mia’s funeral and help her parents, identified only by their first names (Jacob and Simone).
“On this day, in Glindemann Park, in Holland Park West, an absolutely tragic and sudden accident occurred, where the beautiful Mia, only five months old, grew her little angel wings and left this world,” he says the fundraising page. “There are no words to describe the torture that [los padres] Jacob and Simone are passing. “
In a social media post on Tuesday, Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner described the city as being “deeply shocked” by the baby’s death. “Let’s come together as a community and let Jacob and Simone know that Brisbane is here for them.”
Other magpies attacks
Magpies are known to aggressively defend their nests, particularly during the breeding season from July to December in Brisbane.
Magpies have earned a fearsome reputation for these aggressions in Australia, where the sharp-billed black and white bird grows to around 40 centimeters long.
The community-run Magpie Alert website recorded 1,231 magpie attacks in the state of Queensland in 2020, with thousands more reported in the rest of Australia.
More than one in ten people attacked by magpies are injured, according to Magpie Alert.
In 2019, a 76-year-old Sydney man died of head injuries after crashing his bicycle while trying to avoid a swoop attack by a magpie. The year before, a boy – in Perth – was nearly blind when a magpie attacked him in the face while he was sitting in his stroller.
The Brisbane City Council says it is “working towards a natural balance as a guiding principle of management” when it comes to aggressive birds, such as the native magpie.
Magpies are a protected species in Australia, where it is illegal to kill the bird or remove its chicks or eggs from the wild.