Spring swooping season will soon be over

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is reminding the community to take care during magpie swooping season as we share our streets with these protected birds.

Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen)

George Malolakis from National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said that swooping season is relatively short lived, only lasting a few weeks a year when magpies are protecting their young and nests.

"No one likes getting swooped, it can be quite frightening," Mr Malolakis said.

"But we ask people to remember that we share our streets and neighbourhoods with these birds and that they only ever swoop to protect their young from perceived threats.

"In a funny way all parents can probably relate as we share the same protective instincts.

"Not all magpies swoop. Some fly overhead as a warning, others make contact and can hurt people with their claws or beak.

"We're not dismissing the harm that a handful of magpies might cause each year, but the flip side is that we can't simply destroy all swooping birds who are acting on their natural instincts.

"While it might be a little inconvenient, there are ways to help minimise your risk of getting swooped.

"If you can, take a detour as magpies will only swoop in the immediate vicinity of their nest," Mr Malolakis said.

Other tips are:

  • walk quickly, but don't run
  • protect your head with an umbrella, hat or helmet
  • wear glasses or sunglasses to keep your eyes safe
  • keep facing the magpie or its nest as you move away
  • dismount your bike if you're riding, and walk through the magpie's territory
  • move in a group as magpies are more likely to target individuals.

It should also go without saying that you shouldn't disturb or hassle birds, particularly young magpies.

Where there are particularly aggressive birds in residential areas, NPWS will work with the Bega Valley Shire Council to minimise people getting harmed and in extreme cases consider destroying the bird.

Magpies, like all native species, are protected under the Biodiversity and Conservation Act 2016 and cannot be harmed without a permit. For more information, visit Australian magpie.