GREATER Shepparton City Council is advising residents to be on alert for swooping magpies when out and about over the next couple of months.
Magpies breed between August and October and can swoop if they feel threatened.
Greater Shepparton City Council Director Sustainable Development, Johann Rajaratnam said, “As magpies are native birds, council cannot stop them swooping or remove them from certain areas.
“Swooping can occur any time of the year, however it is increased in spring when the birds are protecting their nests.
“We encourage people to be on alert and aware of the areas that magpies reside in, where swooping may occur,” Mr Rajaratnam said.
Tips to avoid being swooped
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’ on http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/swooping-birds?remap=delwp.vic.gov.au/swoop 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 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 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.
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.