7 ways to stay safe from magpies this swooping season

If they sense a territorial threat, magpies are known to swoop.
If they sense a territorial threat, magpies are known to swoop. Photo credit: Getty

Magpies are becoming highly protective of their young as nesting season begins.

If they sense a territorial threat, magpies are known to swoop.

Auckland Council has released seven tips for getting through swooping season

1. Pay attention to nesting areas

If you see magpie nesting activity in trees in an area where you walk or cycle, it is time to plot a new route for the nesting season. Avoiding the nesting area altogether is always the best option, if you are able.

2. Never harass magpies

Don't throw things at a nest, don't climb trees where magpie chicks are nesting and don't provoke adult magpies. Remember they are fiercely protective and will react if they think their chicks are threatened.

3. Cover up

Carry an umbrella or wear a solid hat if you have to walk through an area in which you know there are magpies. This can help protect you and deter birds.

4. Stay calm

If you find yourself walking or cycling through magpie swooping territory and it is too late to back out, stay calm. Walk quickly through the area but do not run. Teach children to stay calm, too.

5. Be on the lookout and make eye contact

Be careful and keep your eyes out for magpies in known nesting areas. Keep your arms up if you are worried. It can be hard to watch for magpies as they often swoop from behind, but they are much less likely to swoop if they are being watched directly. If you maintain eye contact with a magpie for as long as possible, it will be less likely to swoop.

6. Get off your bike

If you are on a bicycle, dismount. Bicycles irritate magpies and getting swooped on while riding can cause accidents. Your helmet will protect you. Walk the bike quickly out of the magpie's territory.

7. Be understanding and considerate

Magpies are highly intelligent and family-loving, and they are trying to protect their young. You only need to be patient for a few short weeks during the nesting season.


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