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Seven safety tips for magpie swooping season

Published: 9 October 2017

It’s spring nesting season and magpies in both city and country areas are becoming highly protective of their young, swooping on territorial threats.

Here are some tips on how to get through the swooping season. 

1. Pay attention to nesting areas
If you see magpie nesting activity in trees in an area where you walk or cycle, it is time to plot a new route for the nesting season. Avoiding the nesting area altogether is always the best option if you are able.

2. Never harass magpies
Don’t throw things at a nest, don’t climb trees where magpie chicks are nesting and don’t provoke adult magpies. Remember – they are fiercely protective and will react if they think their chicks are threatened.

3. Cover up
Carry an umbrella or wear a solid hat if you have to walk through an area in which you know there are magpies. This can help protect you and deter birds.

4. Stay calm
If you find yourself walking or cycling through magpie swooping territory and it is too late to back out, stay calm. Walk quickly through the area but do not run. Teach children to stay calm, too. 

5. Be on the lookout and make eye contact
Be careful and keep your eyes out for magpies in known nesting areas. Keep your arms up if you are worried. It can be hard to watch for magpies as they often swoop from behind, but they are much less likely to swoop if they are being watched directly. If you maintain eye contact with a magpie for as long as possible, it will be less likely to swoop.

6. Get off your bike
If you are on a bicycle, dismount. Bicycles irritate magpies and getting swooped on while riding can cause accidents. Your helmet will protect you. Walk the bike quickly out of the magpie’s territory.

7. Be understanding and considerate
Magpies are highly intelligent and family-loving, and they are trying to protect their young. You only need to be patient for a few short weeks during the nesting season.