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Warning as magpie swooping season looms

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding Victorians that with spring in the air, so too are swooping birds.

Native birds, such as magpies and masked lapwings, swoop humans (and their dogs) to defend their young for the 6-8 weeks between when they hatch and when they leave the nest.

DELWP senior wildlife management officer, Leila Brook, said swooping occurs every year during breeding season and is largely a protective manoeuvre.

“For some species, including magpies, it’s mostly males who swoop and swooping birds account for less than 10 percent of the population,” she said.

“Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun but this is just normal bird behaviour. The best way to avoid being swooped is to avoid the area altogether, though this isn't always possible.

“If you do end up in an area where there is a swooping bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move quickly through the area without running.”

Tips to avoid being swooped:

• Know your local swooping hotspots

• Avoid the area

• Move quickly but do not run

• Cover your head with a hat, helmet or umbrella and consider drawing a pair of ‘eyes’ on the back of your hat or helmet

• Do not harass or feed wildlife.

To report a swooping incident by any species of bird, mark its location on Victoria’s swooping bird map, visit delwp.vic.gov.au/environment- and-wildlife/wildlife/swooping-birds.

No reports of swooping in the Maryborough region have been listed on the map.

Magpies and other native birds are protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975. Under the Act, it is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife in Victoria. Penalties apply to those found in breach.

As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must use a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.

Visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au for more information.