When Magpies Attack – What To Do

swooping magpie

Why do Magpies swoop?

They’re normally very territorial birds. They’ll protect their territory from other birds throughout the year. They become very protective during their breeding season because they are protecting their eggs and young.

How long does the swooping last for?

The breeding season lasts from July to November throughout Australia. Their defensive behaviour lasts for 6 to 8 weeks, from when eggs are laid, to when the young leave the nest.

How can we stay safe around swooping Magpies?

  • Stay up to 150 metres away from the nest if you know where it is.

    Australian Magpie Pic by Wikipedia

    Australian Magpie
    Pic by Wikipedia

  • If you can’t avoid the nesting zone:
    • Wear a hat and sunglasses.
    • Hold a bag above your head, or use an umbrella.
    • Walk in groups rather than alone.
    • Don’t run.
    • Don’t fight back, this will only make the Magpie more defensive.
  • If you’re on a bike:
    • Either get off and walk, or concentrate on your riding and ignore the Magpie.
    • Your helmet (and sunglasses) will protect you.
    • Don’t fight back!
    • “Spike up” your helmet with a few cable ties or draw large eyes on the back of your helmet to confuse them.

Is there anything else that can be done?

Sometimes watching the Magpie will deter them from swooping, that’s why putting large eyes on the back of your hat or helmet can help.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website has further information and guidelines. These are the people to call about relocating a Magpie. They also have Magpie warning posters that can be printed, laminated and placed around the Magpies territory so people know to protect themselves when entering the area.

Other Resources:


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