SWOOP­ING IN

When spring comes around, so too do the swoop­ing mag­pies

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - Kea­gan El­der kea­gan.el­der@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

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

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