SWOOPING WATCH: Magpie breeding season is expected to run until October this year.
SWOOPING WATCH: Magpie breeding season is expected to run until October this year.

Council issues magpie swooping warning

AS BIRD breeding season begins, Central Highlanders may need to keep an eye out for swooping magpies.

Magpies use swooping to warn others to keep away from their eggs or newly-hatched chicks. Breeding season is expected to extend until October.

The Central Highlands Regional Council urged people to follow their guidelines to stay safe.

Mayor Kerry Hayes said the best way to avoid getting swooped was to give magpies a wide berth.

“Although only a small proportion of magpies become aggressive and attack people when protecting their nest, it is important to be proactive about your own safety,” Mr Hayes said.

“The best way to avoid incident is to simply avoid entering an aggressive magpie’s territory, which usually extends 150m around their nest tree.”

Mayor Hayes said wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses, walking instead of running, carrying an open umbrella, dismounting a bike, and attaching cable ties to helmets would help keep magpies away.

He said that waving or shouting could cause magpies to perceive a person as a greater threat.

Ranger services coordinator Brett Keys encouraged people to use the national crowd-sourced magpie alert map.

“Add swooping incidents to the map to help others avoid the area and check the map for any aggressive birds on your usual routes,” he said.

Mr Keys said the council’s parks and gardens staff would spray paint warning signs on the footpaths near known problem areas.


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