It’s that time of the year again when we see other locals wearing bike helmets with cable ties pointing skyward, acting as some weird spiky alien like head piece. Definitely something you see in many areas of Australia at this time of year due to the fact they become swooping birds to protect their young.
September and October is when magpies usually start protecting their young. Though it is rare for a magpie to actually make contact, a swooping magpie can cause bicycles accidents, resulting in injury to yourself or others.
So what can we do to stop being attacked when out and about in Redlands this season?
Magpies are the most notorious swoopers. During spring, a magpie will sometimes swoop on a person, clacking its beak. While alarming, it is usually just a warning, an attempt defend its family. This only happens during the nesting season, which lasts a few weeks.
If you encounter a swooping magpie:
- do not stop – walk away quickly
- eye contact will make the magpie less likely to swoop
- 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).
If you know there’s a nest located in a nearby tree with a swooping magpie try to avoid it. Try to remember these birds swoop for only about six weeks until their babies leave the nest, so magpie breeding season is usually all over by November.