Airborne bandits swooping in

Keep at least one eye out for magpies, which are known to attack passers-by and even drawn blood.

MAGPIES and masked lapwings have commenced their breeding season, with swooping reports already coming in from unsuspecting people enjoying a casual walk.
So what can we do to protect ourselves?
Swooping incidents may not only be frightening but can cause serious injury. At present we have magpies swooping near the entrance of the Barwon Heads Caravan Park, along Jetty Road down to At the Heads Restaurant and near 18W riverside access way, along the Ocean
Grove Spit.
Native birds are highly protective of their eggs and young and will often swoop unsuspecting people within their territorial boundary. The more a bird feels threatened, the more aggressive behaviour becomes. The nesting season is relatively short, so let’s keep these birds’ aggressive behaviour to a minimum by avoiding the area all together.
Maddie Glynn from Barwon Coast, suggests these methods to protect yourself from swooping magpies:
* Stare and point at the bird while walking away from the area.
* Wear eyes on the back of your bike helmet.
* Hold a stick or object well above your head.
* Go on your walks at night fall; magpies are sleeping.
The best is avoidance altogether.
Swooping generally lasts around eight weeks from when the eggs are laid until the nestling can fly. A fledgling may also be found on the ground, which does not warrant assistance from people. Fledglings will remain on the ground for around a week until they can fly. While on
the ground, the parents will come and tend to their chick. The only time a chick should be rescued is if it is injured, at risk of being attacked, or if the parents have not been seen for some time. Any rescue attempts should never be carried out while the parents are around, as this will change passive bird behaviour to aggressive behaviour the following season.
To create awareness on where nesting birds are notify others of sites by logging onto Victoria’s Magpie Map at www.delwp.vic.gov.a/swoop, or contact Barwon Coast so appropriate educational material may be installed within our coastal reserves.
Birds such as magpies and masked lapwings are protected wildlife and penalties apply to people taking eggs, harassing or causing injury to these birds.

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