It’s that time of year when people start carrying umbrella’s even when it’s not raining.
Swooping magpies are one of the few downsides of spring, but with a bit of knowledge you can stay safe.
Dr Darryl Jones, from Griffith University, is an expert on animals living in urban areas. He says magpies only swoop when they have chicks in the nest that they are trying to protect. “It’s Dad trying to keep potential threats to the chicks away from the nest. It’s really an extreme form of childcare.”
Thankfully only a small proportion of magpies ever become aggressive to humans and only when they are in the vicinity of the nest. Usually it’s because the magpie has become stressed in an urban area. Therefore the best way to stay safe is to avoid that area.
Facts about Magpies:
-Magpies usually never move in 20 years of life
-They tend to go for the smallest person
-Magpies tend to specialise in attacking either pedestrians, cyclists or postie bikes
-Magpies know and recognise individuals and tend to attack the same person over and over again. If you feel like you are being victimised, you probably are!
What to do if you get swooped:
-Put up your arms or wave a stick to keep them away from your eyes
-If cycling, hop off your bike and walk
-Leave the area you have just entered, as there is sure to be a nest nearby
Because magpies recognise individuals, if a magpie is continuously attacking you in the area around your home, a sure-fire way to fix the problem is to offer them a small amount of food, such as mince, dog-food or cat-food. When the magpie realises you are their friend, they will no longer feel threatened.
Audio – Dr Darryl Jones explains how to survive magpie season
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