Magpies warbling is one of the most familiar and endearing sounds of Australian wildlife, yet the whirring and whooshing sounds of a swooping magpie approaching fills most with dread.
With spring now upon us, breeding season for native birds is underway, and swooping of unsuspecting humans (and dogs) begins.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Grampians Regional Manager Compliance Operations, Nathan MacDonald said: “Bird swooping is part of life in Australia, as we share our environment with native wildlife.
“Swooping occurs every year during breeding season and is largely a defensive manoeuvre carried out by some male birds when we come within close range of eggs or fledgling birds,” Mr MacDonald said.
“They are simply taking action to deter any threat to their young.
“Being swooped by a territorial bird isn’t pleasant and can even cause injury. But the swooping is seasonal, healthy bird behaviour and so, if possible, the best response is to keep away from the area.
“It is illegal to harm native birds and offences can result in fines or imprisonment. It is up to us to co-exist peacefully with wildlife and respect it.
“If you do end up in an area where there is a swooping bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move quickly through the area.
“We encourage people to share information about swooping birds by logging their encounter on DELWP’s Swoop map.”
BirdLife, Australia’s leading bird conservation organisation, has suggested that the swooping season has begun earlier than usual; with numerous swooping incidents reported in the latter part of winter. Hotspots include in or around suburban parks with tall eucalypt trees.
To report a swooping incident by any species of bird on Victoria’s swooping bird map, visit delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/swooping-birds