It's Magpie Breeding Season

Look Out!

It's Magpie Breeding Season

You may have spotted Magpies starting to warble around in the early hours of the morning.

That's a sign breeding season is getting underway which means swooping is sure to follow!

According to the Dept of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Animal Welfare Manager magpie breeding usually happens between August and October.

The females typically lay between 3-5 eggs in early to mid-August and sit on them for three weeks until they hatch.

Dr Deb Kelly says 'swooping starts as soon as the eggs are laid, as the birds are highly territorial and swoop on any perceived threat to protect their nests from predators'.

'Magpies are not malicious but the males will swoop on humans and other animals if they feel threatened.. and their beaks and claws can do some damage' she said.

The best way to avoid being swooped is to detour around a magpie's nest if you can.

They generally only swoop within 50m of their nests and lapwings in an even smaller area.

Tactics for surviving swooping season:

> Travel in groups where possible as swooping birds generally only target individuals
> Carry an open umbrella above your head
> Wear sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat
> Cyclists should walk rather than ride their bikes through magpie territory or have a flag on the back of the bike that's higher than their head
> Do not act aggressively - If you wave or shout you will be seen as a threat to the nest
> Walk, don’t run and avoid making eye contact with the birds
> If you know of an area that has swooping magpies, put a sign up to warn passers-by
> Take a slight detour around known nesting sites