Magpie nesting season is here and swooping reports are on the rise

RESIDENTS are warned to keep their eyes to the sky in magpie hot spots as nesting season swoops into full force.

Australia’s most popular bird, the magpie are staying alert for predators as they protect their newborns during spring.

As with preview years, the same areas occupied by protective families of the bird appear to remain including Widderson Street, the bushland areas near Westport Public and High schools, Wayne Richards Park and on the third hole at Emerald Downs Golf Course. 

Large warning signs for the black and white bombers are erected in the vicinity but patrons have still been swooped.

“I could see it coming from the top of the tree as I went to hit my shot,” one player said during a charity golf event on September 13.

“We had our umbrellas up and that seemed to stop him from getting us. But I’m not too fazed. They are just protecting their family.”

Wearing sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat is a good deterrent, according to FAWNA President Meredith Ryan.

“The main thing we need to stress is that they’re protecting their young and whether it’s right or wrong the magpies perceive people as threats,” Mrs Ryan said – a message she delivers annually.

Walk, do not run, and avoid making eye contact with the birds, Mrs Ryan explained. Do not act aggressively - if you wave or shout you will be seen as a threat to the nest.

Find detours around known nesting sites as magpies will only swoop within 50 metres of their nest.

Mrs Ryan said she hates seeing people on social media encouraging kids to retaliate and attack magpies.

“That’s sad to see. If a magpie sees a person in a particular uniform attacking it, they will associate everyone wearing that uniform and will paint them with the same brush,” she said.

As for the myths about fake eyes glues on hats, or helmets with spikes, one confirmed method of remaining uninjured is making an effort to be friends with swooping magpies.

Gisela Kaplan, Emeritus Professor in animal behaviour at the University of New England and author of Bird Minds, said magpies remember and recognise human faces.

Dr Kaplan said that once a magpie knows you and perceives you as non-threatening, you have earned a friend for life.

If you must walk through a magpie nesting zone, using an umbrella will protect you.

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