Take care in swooping season
Be on the lookout for magpies in spring
ANYONE wanting to venture outside for a bike ride, walk or run is being reminded to be on the lookout for the dreaded swooping assassin – the magpie.
With spring weather setting in, magpies have begun their natural breeding behaviour and commenced their swooping onslaught.
To protect their young, male magpies begin plotting their swooping tactics at the end of August and generally, by the end of October, the fun of watching people scream and cower in terror has run its course.
Despite the obvious glee these feathered creatures gain from terrorising people minding their own business, folks are being reminding not to hurt these birds who are simply protecting the next generation of assassins.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning senior wildlife officer Gary Dash said the first incidents of Australian magpies swooping in Victoria have been reported.
“Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour and, if possible, the best response is to keep away from the area,” he said.
“As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breeding and we want people to be aware of swooping birds.
“People should remember not to harm native birds as they are protected under the Wildlife Act.
Mr Dash said anyone moving through a swooping zone should do so quickly and try to protect their head and eyes.
“They are swooping to defend their eggs and young and if they perceive you to be a potential threat they may swoop,” he said.
“Some places where people are most likely to be swooped are public places such as parks particularly where there are tall eucalypts.”
Alpine Shire Council ranger Len McGaffin said residents concerned about a magpie on council land should call the council and report third.
“Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do,” he said.
“We can’t relocate them so the best we can do is put sign up warning others there is a swooping magpie around the public area.”
Here are some safety tips that may help with preventing and avoiding a magpie attack:
Keep alert and pay attention for any magpie nesting sites
Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your head and eyes
Keep an ear open for their distinctive calls
Try an alternate route if possible
Placing cable ties on your bike helmet can deter a magpie from attacking
Bike riders should dismount and walk
Do not act aggressively towards the magpie
Do not run To register a ninja magpie or any other swooping feathered creature incident on Victoria’s Magpie Map visit www. wildlife.vic.gov.au/managingwildlife/swooping-birds.
REMAIN CALM: Magpies will be doing what comes naturally this spring – protecting their young.