Mag­pies and hu­mans de­fend

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

When she rides her bike, Yar­ra­wonga res­i­dent Sue Boyd feels a lit­tle let down with mag­pies swoop­ing her.

“I have two mag­gies at home which I hand­feed and I tell them to tell their mates not to swoop me,” Sue told the Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle.

“I feed the lady mag­pie first and the male mag­pie just waits his turn - I feed them dry bis­cuits and mince.”

Cable ties have been added to Sue’s hel­met this year, which al­ready con­tained lights.

“The eyes worked last year but not this year,” she said. “But the cable ties are ef­fec­tive.”

It’s mainly at the top end of Bel­more Street that the black and white birds have swooped Sue. “I think they at­tack me be­cause I’m a Bombers sup­porter,” she said.

De­spite what some peo­ple say, the mag­pies don’t swoop be­cause Colling­wood miss the fi­nals. They are sim­ply pro­tect­ing their young at this time of year and feel threat­ened by hu­man be­ings.

*The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP) re­minds Vic­to­ri­ans that some bird species, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian Mag­pies (Cracti­cus tibi­cen), swoop peo­ple as part of their nor­mal breed­ing be­hav­iour.

“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,” said DELWP Se­nior Wildlife Of­fi­cer Gary Dash.

“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 1975.

“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.

“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.”

DELWP is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to no­tify oth­ers in their lo­cal area about swoop­ing birds.

Re­port a swoop­ing in­ci­dent by any species of bird on Vic­to­ria’s Mag­pie Map https://www. wildlife.vic.gov.au/man­ag­ing-wildlife/swoop­ing-birds

Sue Boyd dons her pro­tec­tive hel­met.

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