Avoid swooping magpies this spring

Friday, 1st September, 2017

Magpies are very protective of their young.

SPRING means blooming flowers, warmer days and swooping magpies.

Between August and November, magpie parents become protective of their nests and will try to swoop any potential threats to their chicks.

Most swoops are just a bluff, though some people can receive minor head injuries as a result.

But there are a few things you can do to avoid the risk:

  • walk away from the area and warn others about risky locations.
  • don't provoke the birds.
  • wear a wide-brimmed hat or a helmet to protect your head (painting large, black eyes on the back can help deter them). Don't forget sunglasses for your eyes.
  • hold an umbrella or stick above your head to deter attacks but don't swing it at the magpie as this will only provoke it to attack.
  • hurry past nesting sites confidently and quickly or better still, avoid nesting sites, if on a bike, dismount to avoid falling off, and move away quickly.

If you are swooped, don't fight back. Throwing sticks or stones or yelling at a magpie only makes them more likely to be more aggressive next time.

Thankfully, this protective behaviour only lasts for a few weeks.

Magpies are a protected species and it is against the law to kill them, collect their eggs, or harm their young.

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