Now that Spring has sprung, Wyndham residents are being reminded to be alert to avoid attacks from swooping birds.
Magpies and masked lapwings, also known as plovers, are generally active between September and January, with studies showing that these birds will defend their nests for a radius of up to 110 metres.
Wyndham City’s Environment and Sustainability portfolio holder, Cr Heather Marcus, said residents should do their best to avoid disturbing swooping birds.
“Birds like magpies often swoop during breeding season. This can be a frightening experience, but residents should remember that the birds are simply trying to protect their young,” Cr Marcus said.
“Not all birds will swoop, but it is important to be aware of areas where swooping has occurred, so you can avoid venturing into the bird’s territory.”
“If you are being swooped, you should hop off your bike and walk. Putting some cable ties on your helmet can also stop the birds from making contact with your head”
The Councillor explained that there are several other ways that residents can protect themselves from getting swooped too. It is, for instance, best to avoid the areas where there is a dominant magpie or masked lapwings but if one needs to go past the area, one needs to move quickly but not run. “Wear a broad brimmed hat or carry an umbrella to protect your head. You should also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes,” she said.
Cr Marcus said these birds tend to go after fast moving objects like cyclists and motorcyclists.
“If you are being swooped, you should hop off your bike and walk. Putting some cable ties on your helmet can also stop the birds from making contact with your head,” Cr Marcus said.
Throwing stones or objects at the birds will make them feel threatened and trigger them to increase the swooping. It is also important that people do not destroy their nests because not only is it cruel, but they will rebuild and it will mean they will continue swopping for a longer period of time. All native wildlife are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975, making it an offence to illegally remove, kill or trade in animals from the wild.
Residents are encouraged to visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DWELP) website or call the DWELP customer call Centre (136 186) for further information or to add to the 2017 Victorian Magpie Map.