It’s that time of year again. The sun is starting to shine, flowers blooming and spiked helmets have been dusted off to prepare for yet another magpie swooping season. Here’s all you need to know to get through the season unscathed!
Despite what many people may think, magpies aren’t monsters put on this earth solely to terrify the lives of South Australians! They are just using their body language to warn others to keep away from their eggs or newly hatched chicks.
It’s only natural to protect the things we love. Magpies feel the same way, particularly when it comes to their babies. Due to common breeding behaviours, we tend to see a huge spike in magpie swooping from August through October when their protective instincts are in full force.
It’s actually the male magpies that guard their nests, and they will attack anything they deem to be a threat from the time the eggs are laid until the young birds are ready to take on the world themselves.
So what can you do to get through magpie swooping season in one piece?
The best thing you can do is to avoid problematic areas altogether. If you have suspicions of a magpie nesting area, try taking another route to get to your destination. Magpies tend to nest in the same spots, so if you were swooped during a previous season, it’s likely it could happen again in the very same location this year.
If avoidance isn’t an option, here are some other tactics you can try to keep yourself safe:
- Swooping birds usually only target individuals, so try to travel in groups
- Carry an open umbrella above your head
- Wear sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat
- If you ride a bike, walk it through magpie territory or have a flag on the back of the bike that is higher than your head
- Do not act aggressively. If you wave your arms about or shout, the magpies will see you as a threat to the nest – and not just this year, but for up to five years to come
- Walk, don’t run
- Avoid making eye contact with the birds.
- If you know of an area that has swooping magpies, put a sign up to warn passers-by.
Do you have any precautionary tips you’d like to share to help others avoid being swooped this season? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to keep track of recent South Australian attacks, as well as record your own on Magpie Alert.