If you’ve ever been swooped by a magpie, you will know it is a frightening, and potentially dangerous, experience.
Magpies use swooping to warn others to keep away from their eggs or newly-hatched chicks and with breeding season underway, Central Highlands Regional Council urges people to follow some simple steps to stay safe.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said the best way to avoid getting swooped is to give magpies a wide berth.
‘Although only a small proportion of magpies become aggressive and attack people when protecting their nest, it is important to be proactive about your own safety,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘The best way to avoid incident is to simply avoid entering an aggressive magpie’s territory, which usually extends 150 m around their nest tree.’
Mayor Hayes said if you must enter the area, follow these tips to stay safe:
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Carry an open umbrella above your head.
- Dismount your bike.
- Attach cable ties to helmets.
- Don’t act aggressively, if you wave your arms about or shout, the magpies will see you as a threat to the nest.
Coordinator Ranger Services Brett Keys encouraged people to use the national crowd-sourced magpie alert map at www.magpiealert.com.
‘Add swooping incidents to the map to help others avoid the area and check the map for any aggressive birds on your usual routes,’ Mr Keys said.
Mr Keys said council’s parks and gardens staff also spray paint warning signs on the footpaths near known problem areas.
Magpie breeding season has started earlier than usual this year and is expected to extend until around October. For more information and tips on staying safe from swooping magpies, visit www.ehp.qld.gov.au.