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Swooping season here already

Have you already been swooped by a magpie this season? It might seem a bit early, but President of the Canberra Ornithologists Group Neil Hermes told ABC News that it was not unheard of for magpies to begin swooping in August.

“People always think about birds breeding in springtime, but many birds start their breeding in winter so that the young are coming out when there’s lots of food in spring”, Hermes said.

“August is the actual peak for nest-building, and then September is the peak for having young in nest, so this is about the time that we’d expect to see some of the early nest building happening”, he added.

It looks like we might be in for a long season of swooping, so what can we do about it?

The first thing is to remember that, while alarming, the activity is mostly bluff, with the birds just wanting to warn us away from their young. Grey Butcherbirds and Wattle Birds are also known to swoop when they feel threatened, but as with magpies, it is rare that they actually come into contact with their ‘targets’.

The next thing to keep in mind is that scientists have discovered over the past few years that magpies recognise faces. So if the magpies in your neighbourhood have seen you around over the past ten months (or years), they will already know you and that you don’t mean any harm.

If you have a particularly belligerent bird in the neighbourhood, however, there are a few simple and effective steps you can take to protect yourself:

– Avoid known nesting sites if possible, or give them a wide berth;
– Wear a helmet or a firm, broad-brimmed hat to protect your head;
– Hold an open umbrella over your head to deter swooping birds;
– If on a bike, dismount and walk away quickly;
– Post signs to warn others of the location of nests and ‘defense’ zones, particularly in areas used by children and the elderly;
– Do not provoke the birds; the more people annoy them the worse they become.

Magpies are a protected species and it is illegal to harm them. In extreme circumstances where they are a serious problem, you can report them to the police or the National Parks and Wildlife Service who have procedures in place to help ensure the community is protected.

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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