Bird sea­son in full flight

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Vic­to­ria’s ‘swoop­ing sea­son’ has started and au­thor­i­ties are re­mind­ing peo­ple to avoid ar­eas where birds such as mag­pies and plovers have made homes.

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning has is­sued the warn­ing based on birds’ nat­u­ral breed­ing be­hav­iour.

DELWP Grampians en­vi­ron­men­tal com­pli­ance act­ing re­gional man­ager Paul Ryan said peo­ple had started re­port­ing the first in­ci­dents of birds swoop­ing at var­i­ous cen­tres across the re­gion.

“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,” he said.

“As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breed­ing and we want peo­ple to be aware of swoop­ing birds.

“Some of the places where peo­ple are most likely to be swooped are pub­lic spa­ces such as parks, par­tic­u­larly where there are tall eu­ca­lypt trees.”

Mr Ryan said peo­ple should re­mem­ber to avoid harm­ing na­tive birds be­cause they were 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,” he said.

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

Mr Ryan said DELWP en­cour­aged peo­ple to share in­for­ma­tion about swoop­ing birds by log­ging their en­counter on its swoop map.

“The Wim­mera, Mallee and Grampians are home to mag­pies and plovers, which can go to great lengths to pro­tect young,” he said.

“Both are in­tel­li­gent birds, in­flu­enced by hor­monal changes on the ar­rival of eggs or off­spring and boldly take on much larger and more dan­ger­ous preda­tors such as hu­mans and dogs to pro­tect their young.

“Other na­tive birds such as noisy min­ers can also oc­ca­sion­ally swoop passersby to pro­tect an area.

“Swoop­ing can be hor­ri­fy­ing but in most cases harm­less, and peo­ple, if caught in swoop­ing cir­cum­stances, should, while at­tempt­ing to the leave the area, make sure they pro­tect their eyes and head.

“Cu­ri­ous young chil­dren look­ing up at a swoop­ing bird can be vul­ner­a­ble to se­ri­ous in­jury.”

Mr Ryan said to re­port a swoop­ing in­ci­dent by any species of bird on Vic­to­ria’s swoop­ing bird map, peo­ple could visit web­site delwp.vic. gov.au/en­vi­ron­ment-and-wildlife/ wildlife/swoop­ing-birds.

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