Birds

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Why birds swoop

Native birds that swoop include Plovers (Masked Lapwings), Butcher birds, Kookaburras and Magpies, with magpies usually causing the most concern.

During Spring and nesting season, a Magpie will sometimes swoop on a person, clacking its beak. While alarming, it is usually an attempt to defend its family so just a warning.

This only happens during the nesting season, which lasts a few weeks so if possible, use an alternate route during this time. A magpie may persistently swoop on a particular person yet ignore others.

They are highly protective of their eggs, nest and young and will often ‘swoop’ unsuspecting passers by if they feel threatened. Only a small percentage of birds attack during Spring as a ‘warning’ to ward off intruders to their territory, which may include your local park, backyard or schoolyard.

All native birds are protected under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and there are penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife. It is illegal to kill birds, or to interfere with their nests containing eggs or young without a permit or authority.

Top ten tips to protect yourself against swooping birds

  • Know your local swooping hot spots.
  • Avoid the area.
  • Do not stop - walk away quickly.
  • Cover your head.
  • Place fake eyes at the back of your head.
  • Wear sunglasses on the back of your head.
  • Wear a hat with a pair of eyes drawn on the back.
  • Wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet, or even an ice cream container or cardboard box.
  • Carry an open umbrella or stick above your head (but do not wave it). 
  • Do not harass wildlife.
  • Do not destroy nests.
  • Do not feed swooping birds.
  • Travel in a group.
  • Notify others.

Known bird swooping locations

The following locations have been identified as known Magpie swooping locations;

  • RSL Park, Betterment Parade, Corowa.
  • Dock Street, South Corowa.
  • Intersection of Bow and Sanger Streets, Corowa.
  • Victoria Street,  Howlong.
  • Pearce Street, Howlong.
  • Corner Larmer and Hoodle Street, Howlong.
  • Larmer Street, Howlong & along Lowe Square.
  • Hume Street, Mulwala.

Let us know of locations in the Federation Council Region where Magpies are swooping by completing the form below. The list above will be updated accordingly. 

To assist other members of the community, swooping magpies in your area can registered on the Magpie Alert National Register.