Ask a Park Ranger – What can I do in swooping season?

magpie

Spring may bring beautiful blossoms, but we also have swooping season upon us.

A range of birds swoop passers-by at this time of year, with Magpies perhaps the best known but our local Pied Butcher birds are another common culprit.

Here are the facts:

  • Swooping is a “boy thing”, females do not swoop
  • Not all males will swoop, only some
  • Of those that swoop, only a few will actually make contact — most just fly close to avoid collision
  • Not all people are subject to swooping. It seems that birds are attracted to swoop some people more than others. And, yes, once swooped that bird will remember you and will swoop whenever he sees you
  • The good news is that swooping happens only while chicks are in the nest – not at other times

Myths:

  • Glasses on the back of your head will stop swooping
  • Hat? Does not work either

What to do:

  • A hard hat will protect your head
  • If you are a cyclist, cable ties in a helmet certainly make birds swoop at a higher point. Dismounting and walking your bike through known nesting sites may make you less of a target as well.
  • An umbrella is great protection, but will not stop swooping

Important Advice:
Never turn toward a swooping bird. People may be injured if a bird flies into your face when you turn around.

About

Manager Green Ranger Team, Sydney Olympic Park Authority

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Posted in Places & green spaces

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