SWOOPING SEASON: Valley's magpie hot-spots
WITH spring well and truly here, the black and white menaces otherwise known as magpies are now out in full force, swopping all and sundry to protect their young.
The magpie mating season, which usually lasts from late August to late October, is when all the swooping occurs, when the male magpies go after intruders to keep them out of their territory and protect their nest.
According to the official 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 report says.
So while the effectiveness of most techniques to dissuade magpies from swooping are dubious at best, the only sure fire method to avoid unwanted attention is to avoid them all together.
Here is a handy map of known mapgie hot-spots this swooping season.
Have we missed a spot? Let us know and we can update the map.
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.