Spring is prime time swooping season

PROTECTIVE: Magpies will often go to any lengths to protect their nesting young from perceived threats, including swooping passers-by.

AROMAS of spring are not the only things in the air at this time of year, so too are swooping birds, particularly magpies.

With the onset of spring, breeding and nesting becomes the number one priority for most species of native birds and with that comes swooping, as birds protect their eggs and their young.

Among the more common list of ‘swoopers’ are the Australian magpie, the magpie-lark, laughing kookaburra, red wattlebird, grey butcherbird and masked lapwing (commonly called plovers).

For cyclists, pedestrians, and morning joggers, it can be a particularly challenging ride/walk/run as some birds see their presence as a direct threat.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website can be a useful source of information on swooping birds, and provides a downloadable ‘swoop kit’ which includes a top 10 facts sheet, a warning sign, and a printable set of ‘eyes’ to attach to the back of your helmet or cap.

The site also has ‘Victoria’s Magpie Map’ which shows the top sites where people are being swooped.

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