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Survival guide: Stay safe this bird swooping season

24 Aug, 2021

Bird swooping season has arrived.

September is the height of the “swooping season”, although the birds nest from July to December and can swoop during those months too.

Some unsuspecting residents have already reported being swooped in various locations across the city.

Some of the swooping hotspots to be alert around over the coming months include Plunketts Rd in West Wodonga, McKoy St, Sumsion Gardens, Willow Park, Baranduda Skate Park and the Yarrawonga turn off on the Hume freeway.

Stay tuned and come back to this page as we add more locations to the list in the coming weeks.

Native birds can swoop in urban and rural areas, in parks and gardens, along bike tracks and in schoolyards, or anywhere that birds are nesting.

While swooping birds can be alarming, not all birds display this behaviour.

There are several bird species that can become aggressive when nesting or protecting their young, but magpies and plovers are the most common.


Top ten tips to protect yourself against swooping birds:

  1. Know your local swooping hotspots
    Keep informed about parks, schoolyards and bike trails in your local area by reading your local newspapers, viewing Victoria’s ‘Magpie Map’ or contacting your local council.
  2. Avoid the area
    The best way to protect yourself from a swooping bird is to avoid venturing into their territory.
  3. Move quickly
    If you must pass through the area – move quickly – do not run.
  4. Cover your head
    Wear a hat or carry a stick or umbrella above your head. Cyclists should wear a helmet, dismount and walk through the area.
  5. Eyes at the back of your head
    Birds may be less likely to swoop if they think you are watching them. Draw a pair of ‘eyes’ and attach them to the back of hats and helmets.
  6. Do not harass wildlife
    Don’t interfere with or throw stones at birds. This gives them added reason to see humans as a threat and may increase swooping behaviour.
  7. Do not destroy nests
    This may prompt birds to rebuild their nests, prolonging the swooping behaviour.
  8. Don’t feed swooping birds
    This may encourage swooping behaviour.
  9. Travel in a group
    If possible, try to travel in a group in areas where there are swooping birds.
  10. Notify others
    Put up warning signs for others who may not be aware that there are swooping birds in the area, or ask your council to do so.

 

Learn more and visit the online Magpie Map at wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds