Magpie Swoop Eyes

It’s Magpie Swooping season again and it can be a frightening (and occasionally painful) experience. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them, so draw or sew a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat, and wear it when walking through the area. Download your pair of ‘swoop eyes’ here…

B&W Swoop Eyes

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of the Vic Dept of Sustainability and Environment website.

 

According to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: “For most of the year magpies are not aggressive, but for four to six weeks during nesting they will often defend their territory vigorously. People walking past may be seen as ‘invaders’ of the territory, prompting the magpies to fly low and fast over the person, clacking their bills as they pass overhead.

The experience of a magpie attack can be quite alarming, but it is usually only a warning. Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws. If this unusual behaviour persists, there are ways of reducing the risk of physical injury to humans.

If a magpie swoops at you:

  • Walk quickly and carefully away from the area, and avoid walking there when magpies are swooping.
  • Make a temporary sign to warn other people. You can download one here.

    Swoop Warning Sign for download

  • Try to keep an eye on the magpie while walking carefully away. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them. Alternatively, you can draw or sew a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat, and wear it when walking through the area. You can also try wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head. (The Vic Dept of Sustainability and Environment website also has a Top 10 Tips to download)
  • Wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet. Any sort of hat, even a hat made from an ice cream container or cardboard box, will help protect you. You can also stick your Swoop Eyes to the back of them!
  • Carry an open umbrella, or a stick or small branch, above your head but do not swing it at the magpie, as this will only provoke it to attack.
  • If you are riding a bicycle, get off it and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.”
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