The weather was glorious last weekend and many people grabbed the opportunity to get out and go for a walk for a change in lock-down scenery.
Some were unfortunately confronted with a different kind of danger… magpie swooping season has started!
Every spring, walkers, runners and cyclists have to deal with some very protective magpies. It’s in their nature to swoop in spring, as their protective instincts over their young kick in.
Swooping is a magpie’s protective behaviour at breeding time, to ward off intruders or potential threats from their nest, which could house eggs or young.
Swooping can include merely flying over your head as a warning, or feature physical contact from the bird’s beak or claws.
In extreme cases, that can lead to more serious injuries that may require medical attention or in extreme tragedies, cause a fatal accident.
According to an ABC news article, the magpies that swoop may have experienced past trauma or harassment.
The fact is that most magpies that are pre-disposed to swooping will. That is why the best advice is to take a detour as magpies will only swoop in the immediate vicinity of their nest.
If you have to cross a magpie’s territory, there are some tips that could help minimise your risk of being swooped:
• 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
You shouldn’t disturb or hassle birds, particularly young magpies. If you know of any swooping magpies around Parkes, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org