Health & Wellbeing

Magpie Madness- Tips to Avoid Getting the Swoop.

Meghan Richardson consults an expert magpie dodger to give you some handy tips for avoiding injury this Spring.

If you thought mosquitoes were the only flying threat facing you this summer, I’m sorry to remind you about the magpies.

While magpies might be malaria-free, they do pose a threat to our eyeballs and dignity. There are misconceptions that this beautiful native bird is an aggressive menace to society but in reality, they’re just fiercely trying to protect their babies.

The Australian Bird Study Association announced on Twitter that magpies will be swooping early this season due to warm July weather.

magpie tweet

Scientists are concerned that global warming is causing warmer winters that result in breeding schedules being jump-started. This meant territorial magpies arrived early this year, with reports that attacks at Callaghan have already begun.

The website ‘Magpie Alert!’ has reported 492 attacks already this 2019 season. The site encourages concerned members of the public to report aggressive magpie swooping all over Australia. There’s already a report about Warabrook, a well-known swooping zone.

Although you may be frightened or annoyed by magpies, it’s important not to retaliate, as they are intelligent and sensitive creatures that are protected by law throughout Australia. If you feel that certain magpies are particularly dangerous, you can report them to the local council.

Novocastrian postman, Kaden Green has a lot of experience with swooping magpies and says they’re ‘very clever’.


Photo courtesy of Kaden Green.

“They can recognise faces,” says Kaden. “If they recognise you and trust you, they’re heaps friendly. If they don’t, they assume you want to eat their bubs (babies) so it’s on. Similar to a dog in its yard.”

Kaden also suggests finding alternative routes to your destination if you know about nests in the area.

“Just avoid them if you’re worried. Probably wear sunnies cause if they’re more gutsy they’ll go for your eyes. But in my opinion, just cop it and laugh cause they’re legends!”

Here are a few more tips for avoiding magpies!

  1. Keep your eyes on the skies. Birds are less likely to swoop if they think you’re watching them. Glue googly eyes to the back of your helmet to avoid being attacked on a bike.
  2. Avoid riding a bike near nests. Bikes are big and fast and scary for magpies. Swooping birds can cause dangerous accidents for cyclists.
  3. Don’t run away. Try to keep calm if you are attacked. You can hold a bag above your head or use your arms to protects your eyes.
  4. Avoid the area. In some cases, like the nest just near the university train station, it is impossible to find another route to your destination. In other circumstances, however, try to avoid returning to the scene of the crime. Magpies are known to target people who return to their nesting area.
  5. Respect the mighty magpie. Do not shout at them, throw things, or disturb their nests. Simple.


Feature image: Archie Carlson via Unsplash, no changes made

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