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As we approach spring there’s always the possibility of hearing a whooshing sound above your head, along with a rather scary screeching noise. Yes it’s magpie swooping season!

But do not fear, although magpies might look a little intimidating they are just giving you a warning. Their sole intention is to protect their young by keeping you away from their eggs or newly-hatched chicks.

The male will defend the nest from when the eggs are first laid until the young birds are fledged.

Their breeding season is between August and October; so here’s some handy tactics to avoid being swooped while in their territory.

  • Walk, don’t run. If you are really concerned, place your folded arms above your head to protect your head and eyes.
  • Walk with others, as swooping birds usually target individuals
  • Don’t deliberately provoke or harass the birds as they can become more aggressive
  • Protect your head with a large, wide brim hat, bike helmet or carry an open umbrella
  • Wear glasses to protect your eyes
  • Watch the magpie while walking as they are less likely to swoop
  • If you’re on a bike, dismount and walk through the bird’s territory
  • Try to avoid the area. Do not go back after being swooped. Australian magpies have a great memory and you will be a target, if you persist on entering their nesting area.


You can also keep track of recent attacks around Australia, as well as record your own experience at Magpie Alert, a handy website that tracks aggressive magpies across Australia.