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Magpie swooping alert as spring season approaches

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Spring has almost sprung and that can mean only one thing in the eyes of many Australians: magpie swooping season.

Already, with less than three weeks of winter remaining, Novocastrians have reported attacks at Mayfield, Carrington and the Newcastle Interchange.

But, that number will surely increase in the next month.

Magpies and masked lapwings are among the nation’s native birds known to swoop during breeding season to defend their nesting young after hatching.

“Swooping is actually normal [bird] behaviour, although it’s definitely not fun for their targets,” a Magpie Alert spokesperson said.

“Remember, they’re just protecting their young from a perceived threat.

“So, we’re reminding people that their own actions can make the situation far worse.

“The faster you move, the more the birds tend to feel threatened.

“Our best tip is: remain as calm as possible.

“The more ‘aggressive’ your actions are, the more aggravated the bird is likely to become.

“So, try to protect your head and eyes, and move quickly.

“However, don’t run, as this actually upsets the birds.

“It’s very important not to do anything to threaten them, interfere with their nests or to feed them.”

Local residents can report their own incidents at www.magpiealert.com

SAFETY TIPS

  • If you are swooped while cycling, get off your bicycle, as a large number of injuries reported on magpiealert.com are caused by accidents where cyclists fall off during an attack
  • Keep an ear open for their distinctive calls
  • It is important to try to stay calm; if you panic and flap then this is more likely to appear as aggressive behaviour and provoke a further attack
  • Wear sunglasses and with large wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and eyes
  • Face the magpie. They tend to attack from behind, so facing them should avert an attack. Remember to keep facing the bird as you walk out of their territory as some birds will swoop as soon as you look away
  • Warn other people where the magpies are swooping locally by registering the swoops on the national magpie map

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