Empathise with magpies
SWOOPING magpies are common in Childers at this time of year, and it can be scary, but Backyard Buddies wants you to know it doesn’t have to be.
Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia’s Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
Each month, Backyard Buddies email (B-mail) tips to make the backyard inviting and safe for native animals. Magpies feature in the September B-mail.
Sign up for B-mail and download a free factsheet about magpies at backyardbuddies.net.au.
Ms Susanna Bradshaw, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, said there were a lot of things you could do to avoid getting swooped, by understanding why magpies behave the way they do.
“It’s important to remember that not all magpies swoop. Female magpies don’t swoop at all as they are busy tending to the chicks and only some males do. In fact it is estimated that only 9% of magpies swoop. The male magpies that do the swooping believe they are protecting their offspring,” Ms Bradshaw said.
The birds will swoop for about six weeks of the year.
“The most common targets for magpies are people riding bicycles, young children and males, although each magpie will usually have its own target.
“The worst thing you can do when a magpie is swooping you is to try and fight back. Throwing rocks or sticks at a magpie will only further aggravate it and encourage it to swoop more,” she said.
The best thing to do is avoid locations where you know there is a magpie swooping. Alter your walking or biking route for the next six weeks after a swoop. Magpies tend to nest in the same spots each year.
MAGPIE PSYCHOLOGY: Childers residents are being swooped by male magpies who believe they are protecting their offspring.