When spring comes around, so too do the swooping magpies
KEEP your eyes peeled.
For the next few weeks, you will most likely be within the sights of a highly protective magpie.
You may well have experienced a swooping attack before.
If not, read our guide on what to do in the event of being dive-bombed by these black and white birds.
I HAVE heard the warnings time and time again. When spring comes around, so too do the swooping magpies.
But somehow, after close to 10 years of living in Australia, I have never actually been swooped... until last Friday.
My afternoon bike ride left me in the sights of a highly protective black and white feathered parent.
Brazenly, it scoped me from its high vantage point and waited for me to get ahead before making a swoop.
Coming from behind, the magpie knew I was vulnerable as I couldn’t see it.
From there I was left at its mercy, ambushing my head and ears.
According to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, magpies are “friendly and welcome neighbours” for most of the year until nesting season comes around.
With nesting season under way, magpies will be protective of their nests and young for a few weeks around this time of year.
Swoops are generally a warning, showing that you have entered a space within 100m of their nest site.
Magpies are a protected species throughout NSW and it is a criminal offence to harm them.
If you feel a magpie is being a serial menace, report it the local council or nearest National Parks and Wildlife Service office.
How to avoid being swooped by magpies:
Avoid the area. Do not go back after being swooped. Magpies will target the same people entering their nesting area.
Be aware of where the bird is. Try drawing eyes on the back of a helmet or hat. Keep calm and do not
panic. 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 your bike/horse out of the nesting territory. Never harass or
provoke nesting birds. 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. It is important children learn to protect their face.
SWOOP: It is the time of year when magpies become protective of their nests. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE
ALWAYS WATCHING: Magpies will be protective of their nests at this time of year. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE