Swooping Season

Spring has sprung – and that means magpie swooping season. To learn more about how to best protect ourselves during this time, we sat down with Dr Paul McDonald, a bird behaviourist at UNE, to discuss the behaviours of swooping magpies and why they do it.

Paul notes that the most important thing to do during magpie swooping season is to be aware of your surroundings.

“Really the message is for people to be aware of their surroundings. It’s particularly a problem if you’ve got headphones on or something like that and you’re head down walking, and that’s easy to do, but if you’re not aware the bird is there, then you’re not picking up on the signals that they’re potentially about to swoop. So it’s about maintaining that awareness.”

Paul adds that it’s important to not panic.

“Running away from the bird is not going to help. It’s going to amplify that swooping behaviour for the next person, or indeed yourself.”

“Better to slow down, turn and orientate towards the bird and then just move slowly outside the area. That’s your best bet and that’s the best way to reduce injuries.”

Photo by Beth Hope on Unsplash