Who doesn't want a cute robotic friend to help them out and have fun with? Darryl says such savage, front-on attacks – by birds on humans – are extremely rare, occurring in less than 1 per cent of cases. It’s worth bearing in mind that swooping magpies (invariably males on guard duty) do not act in aggression or anger but as nest defenders. During this time, magpies build nests to raise their fledglings (chicks). “I’ve even been chased by a duck along the Yarra [River] when I was on a bike.”. They’re successful.”. Nearly all are male.Butcher birds: Both Australian species can show behaviour similar to that of magpies, and sport a fearsome beak.Masked lapwings or plovers: Will swoop to protect eggs or young July–November.Red wattlebirds: Unlikely to make contact, but may snap their beaks and intimidate. This year's helmet config; Afro & cable-tie combo wins out! ... Its probably a matter of time until the birds work it out, but until then it’s worth a try if you’re being swooped. They’re successful.” His extensive research into magpies shows that 99 per cent of swoops on humans are by male birds. Cyclists are a fast moving target seen as a threat to a nesting group of magpies. Defences from avian attack vary from holding an umbrella or stick upright, travelling in a group, trying to befriend the bird with food, turning to face the bird, staying clear of the area for six weeks, and putting false eyes on the back of a helmet or ice-cream container. “Humans are just another predator to them, but we are a low-level risk [compared to a fox], which means they can attack us with impunity.”. They’ll also let most people walk by untroubled, swooping on just 35 per cent of them. “The postie thing is an absolute mystery,” Darryl says. If you pick them up or get too close the parent bird may think you are a possible predator and become defensive in the future. Zipties rock! Sometimes swooping magpies target specific individuals – repeatedly attacking one person in a family and leaving the rest alone. About 52 per cent of magpies that swoop target only pedestrians, letting cyclists off scot-free. Magpies tend to swoop to protect their young and warn potential predators to stay far away from their nest. I'm not sure about peewees / magpie larks. Scientists implore us to rethink the notion of a blackened landscape and embrace the positive qualities of contained fires. Why do magpies swoop in spring? A word of warning – researchers believe that Magpies have been known to remember an “enemy” and swoop them for a lifetime, which can be up to 25 years! Magpies are less likely to pursue you if you’re on foot. Keep up to date with our stylish calendars and diaries. “This is nothing to do with magpies being territorial,” Darryl says. But, if they don facemasks, they might be unable to recognise them and view them as a threat. Most importantly, is there any way we can guard against them? Not all Magpies swoop – most will show no interest in you – but the ones that do are doing so to protect their young. Aussie Magpies and swooping. Reply. To keep safe from swooping Australian magpies, avoid walking or biking through magpie nesting areas since magpies are more likely to swoop to protect their territory. Alternatively you can obtain the details of your nearest licensed magpie relocator from the Yellow Pages. While it may seem like they have a vendetta against people, they’re actually acting on one of the purest instincts – protecting their little ones from harm. 00:01:45 Embed Share to Embed Code Last updated September 14, 2018 at 2:44 pm. The Department of Environment and Science collects personal information from you, including information about your email address and telephone number. PLUS receive a gift. Humans aren’t the only ones targeted as these protective parents do their bit. A Decrease font size. Do Magpies Swoop In The Rain? Topics: Our Planet Any cyclist could be forgiven for feeling threatened by magpies. The Department of Environment and Science acknowledges Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land. The toddler was playing outside the family caravan when Rob came out to find a magpie in attack mode. “Riding a bike, magpie attacked and victim collided with a log.” “Swooped by a magpie, fell off bike down stormwater drain.” There have been two reported cases of “death by magpie” – one a 13-year-old boy who died of tetanus in 1946, and an unconfirmed case in outback Queensland, when a magpie’s beak penetrated a middle-aged man’s neck and cut his spinal cord. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies (painting or sticking large ‘eyes’ on the back of your hat can also deter magpies—but this won’t work for cyclists). According to Gavin Jackson, an ornithologist at Birds Australia, most birds will swoop a perceived predator of their chicks, generally to scare, but occasionally causing real injuries. Magpies swoop to defend their young. I still shudder when I think of that.” Rob shooed the bird away, but it quickly came back and did it again. Magpies will usually only swoop about 100m from the tree they're nesting in.