SPRING has finally sprung across the region, but this means magpies are out and prepared to swoop if people set foot into their territory.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning senior wildlife officer Suriya Vij urged people to be cautious.
She said swooping was part of the magpie’s normal breeding behaviour.
“The first incidents of Australian magpies swooping at locations across Victoria have been reported over the past few weeks,” she said.
“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.
“As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breeding and we want people to be aware of swooping birds.”
Ms Vij said people needed to remember not to harm any native birds as 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,” Ms Vij 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.”
Ms Vij said residents could report a swooping incident – by any species of bird – on Victoria’s Magpie Map via www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds
Swooping avoidance tips:
- Know your local swooping hotspots and avoid the area;
- Move quickly through the area – but do not run;
- Cover your head;
- Wear a hat or carry a stick or umbrella above your head. Cyclists should wear a helmet, dismount and walk through the area;
- Wear fake “eyes” on the back of your hat or helmet;
- Do not harass wildlife;
- Do not destroy nests;
- Don’t feed swooping birds;
- Travel in a group; and
- Notify others who may be in a dangerous area.