Swoop­ing mag­pies ter­ror­is­ing our neigh­bour­hood

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Thomas Hinss

THE mag­pies aren’t swoop­ing into the AFL fi­nals this year — in­stead they are ha­rass­ing the gen­eral pub­lic.

Mag­pie swoop­ing sea­son is al­ready here and at­tacks are be­ing re­ported all along the eastern coast of the coun­try.

How­ever, they aren’t just giv­ing NSW and Queens­land res­i­dents a rea­son to be wary, as at­tacks are also be­ing re­ported around much of Vic­to­ria.

On Wed­nes­day, we asked you where the hotspots are this sea­son on our Facebook page and the re­sponse showed sev­eral ar­eas where there have been reg­u­lar in­ci­dents.

‘‘There is one near the Oz Maze and Mini Golf and the po­lice sta­tion that seems to tar­get shiny hel­mets,’’ Robert Lind­say Corry said.

This par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion seems to be one of the ma­jor hotspots in the area, this par­tic­u­lar mag­pie be­ing ‘‘a mon­grel’’, ac­cord­ing to Su­san James.

The Cam­paspe Walk­ing Trail, 208 Oval and the play­ground at Park Ave were also men­tioned as swoop­ing hotspots.

Echuca On Your Bike me­chanic James Ross said there were a num­ber of ar­eas where the mag­pies had set up their kill-zones.

‘‘The ar­eas near the po­lice sta­tion and along the Mur­ray Val­ley Hwy head­ing out to­wards Rochester seem to have par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive mag­pies,’’ James said.

‘‘I know some­one who got swooped by one and they’ve al­ready stopped rid­ing be­cause of how se­vere the at­tacks were.’’

James said these at­tacks were just part of the sea­son, al­though he thinks they have started ear­lier than usual this year.

‘‘I think these at­tacks are hap­pen­ing ear­lier than usual but I don’t think they are any more se­vere,’’ he said.

‘‘They nest in the same ar­eas and I think ex­pan­sions within town­ships could be con­tribut­ing to bring­ing peo­ple into more hotspots.’’

Ash Hall Cy­cles owner Ash Hall agreed the at­tacks hadn’t been par­tic­u­larly se­vere but the sea­son had kicked off sooner than usual.

‘‘It is look­ing like an early start to the sea­son as I got swooped a cou­ple of weeks ago,’’ Ash said.

‘‘I had a cus­tomer come in re­cently as well who has been swooped and he’s had to change his rid­ing style to try and com­bat them.

‘‘You’d think the mag­pies would be aware of when the sea­sons are a bit out of whack but that doesn’t seem to be the case.’’

Ash hoped there wouldn’t be an­other early start to these at­tacks next year and have this year’s cy­cle be­come com­mon­place.

‘‘They are def­i­nitely ear­lier this year but I think as peo­ple are get­ting more ac­tive and spend­ing more time out and about, the at­tacks are in­creas­ing along with that,’’ he said.

DELWP se­nior wildlife of­fi­cer Gary Dash con­firmed the ini­tial in­ci­dents be­ing re­ported in the last few weeks and the terror they caused.

‘‘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,’’ Gary said.

‘‘As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breed­ing and we want peo­ple to be aware of swoop­ing birds.’’ Gary said harm­ing the birds was pro­hib­ited un­der the Wildlife Act 1975 and of­fered some tips on what to do when caught in a swoop­ing hotspot.

‘‘If you do end up in an area where there is a swoop­ing bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move quickly through the area,’’ he said.

‘‘They are swoop­ing to de­fend their eggs and young and if they per­ceive you to be a po­ten­tial threat, they may swoop.

‘‘Some of the places where peo­ple are most likely to be swooped are pub­lic spaces such as parks, par­tic­u­larly where there are tall eu­ca­lypts.’’

If you get swooped, report it to Vic­to­ria mag­pie map at www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/ man­ag­ing-wildlife/swoop­ing­birds

‘ I know some­one who got swooped by one and they’ve al­ready stopped rid­ing be­cause of how se­vere the were. ’ at­tacks

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