Magpie Swooping Season Means More Vigilance When Out and About

Published on 09 September 2021


It’s Magpie’s nesting season again and Council is reminding locals to take care when out and about and stay alert for swooping birds

For most of the year magpies are not aggressive, but for 4 to 6 weeks from now to November they will often defend their territory and their nests vigorously

Council Rangers have begun receiving calls from locals about swooping birds and advise the best course of action is to avoid the swooping areas until later in the year.

If avoidance is not possible there are ways to reduce the frequency of attacks including:

  • Keeping an eye on the magpie while walking carefully away. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them.
  • Drawing or sewing a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat and wear it when walking through the area. You can also try wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head.
  • Wearing a bicycle or skateboard helmet. Any sort of hat, even a hat made from an ice cream container or cardboard box, will help protect you.
  • Carrying an open umbrella, or a stick or small branch, above your head - but do not swing it at the magpie, as this will only provoke it to attack.
  • If you are riding a bicycle, get off and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.

The experience of a magpie attack can be quite alarming, but it is usually only a warning.  Only very occasionally will a bird strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws.

Magpies are protected throughout NSW and it is unlawful to hurt them or remove their eggs.

If certain birds become a real danger problem, then Council Rangers will contact National Parks and Wildlife who will decide on a course of action.

Council may also consider temporary signage in areas of high bird population, including other swooping birds like Plovers.

Visit Council’s website for more tips and tricks for getting through the swooping season


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