Watch out for protective plovers and swooping magpies! Late Winter to Early Spring is nesting season for many native birds, so give them a wide berth and think about wearing headgear and sunglasses to help deter bombing behaviours.
“Not all birds swoop and those that do are only being protective parents. They swoop anything that they perceive as a threat to their nest and chicks”, said Patrick Tegart, Council’s Biodiversity Projects and Community Education Officer.
Where swooping Magpie territory is known to you, a good rule of thumb is to keep a distance of around 100m when walking nearby, and 150m when riding your bike. Wearing a helmet and attaching a flag to your bike may act as a deterrent. Broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses may also be helpful to avoid being targeted.
Unlike magpies, plovers will make a call to let you know that you are getting too close for comfort, to their nest on the ground or their chicks.
Other tips to reduce your chances of being swooped:
- Never provoke or harass the birds
- Take an alternative route where possible and avoid crossing paths altogether
- An open umbrella can also be a handy deterrent
Nesting season takes place for around 6-8 weeks, starting about now, and swooping behaviour typically peaks during the month of September. This is generally when Council fields the most calls from residents about swooping bird behaviours, and our advice is that this is only temporary and will cease once chicks have left the nest.
So please be mindful of your surroundings when walking or cycling as we come into Spring and where nesting birds are present, take precautions.
Keep in mind that native birds such as magpies are protected throughout New South Wales. It’s against the law to kill native birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young.
If you believe a bird is a potential risk to public safety, you can report it to Council by phoning 4868 0888.
For more information, visit https://www.wsc.nsw.gov.au//bird-interactions.
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