Bird season in full flight
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.