It feels like Magpie attacks are on the rise this year. Iím not sure if there are more swooping magpies, Iím lucky enough to encounter all of the nesting magpies in my area or if I am just a very perfect target but Iíve been swooped on a regular basis this year. Iíve actually taken to working out indoors because Iím afraid of getting attacked on a run. So I thought it was about time I do something about it. But what can be done?
Magpies swoop during their nesting season from September to mid-late October. They swoop when they feel their territory is being invaded and they need to protect their chicks. Although itís easy to get angry and frustrated with these birds, when you realise that there are paternal instincts behind the behaviour, it makes their actions a little bit easier to understand, but not any less terrifying.
Here are a few tips that Iíve been given to help survive the rest of swooping season:
ē Stay Away! Ė Magpies nest in large gum trees in wooded areas. If you see an area that looks like a nice nesting area for birds, thereís more than likely a swooping magpie waiting for you. Avoid these areas as best you can during swooping season.
ē Donít aggravate them Ė Iím so petrified I usually run straight away, so this one didnít necessarily resonate with me but itís still important. Donít throw things or chase them, this only makes them angrier and more likely to swoop humans.
ē Keep calm and walk on Ė when you do encounter a magpie, keep calm. Donít run and if you can, keep an eye on them. They wonít swoop if you are looking directly at them but obviously walking backwards can be dangerous so be careful! If you are riding your bike, dismount as they really do not like bikes.
ē Theyíll remember you Ė Donít return to the area. Magpies have an excellent memory, so theyíll go after you again, even if you look like someone theyíve attacked before.
ē Recommended Protection Ė Suggestions include pasting fake eyes on the back of your hat, zip ties on your helmet, wearing an ice cream container on your head and holding an umbrella, stick or putting your hand up. Yes, you will look ridiculous. Iíve tried every single one of these and the only one that has worked well has been the stick or hand up as the magpie tends to swoop to the highest point. The eyes on the back of my hat actually aggravated the bird more, which was horrifying.
I hope these tips help you survive swooping season!