SWOOPING SEASON: Clarence magpie hot spots
CYCLISTS and walkers, you've been warned: it's now swooping season.
It's that time of the year when male magpies take to the sky to defend their family during nesting season.
According to the NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage profile of the magpie for most of the year magpies are not aggressive, but for four to six weeks during nesting they will often defend their territory vigorously.
"People walking past may be seen as 'invaders' of the territory, prompting the magpies to fly low and fast over the person, clacking their bills as they pass overhead," the website says.
"The experience of a magpie attack can be quite alarming, but it is usually only a warning. Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws. If this unusual behaviour persists, there are ways of reducing the risk of physical injury to humans."
If you're looking to avoid the ire of these black and white flying menaces here are some places to dodge.
If you've been swooped by a magpie at a location not on this list, you can let us know here.
MAGPIE SWOOPING TIPS:
• Walk quickly and carefully away from the area, and avoid walking there when magpies are swooping.
• Make a temporary sign to warn other people.
• Try to keep an eye on the magpie while walking carefully away. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them. Alternatively, you can draw or sew a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat, and wear it when walking through the area. You can also try wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head.
• Wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet. Any sort of hat, even a hat made from an ice cream container or cardboard box, will help protect you.
• Carry an open umbrella, or a stick or small branch, above your head but do not swing it at the magpie, as this will only provoke it to attack.
• If you are riding a bicycle, get off it and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.
Remember, magpies are protected throughout NSW, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young.