September 29, 2020

How to end your magpie swooping nightmare

How to end your magpie swooping nightmare
Dr. Chris Brown

This kid epitomises spring in Australia. But during magpie season, the key to peace on the streets is actually found in our own backyards. Here’s how...

You see, it’s incredibly rare to be swooped in your own backyard. So why don’t the male magpies there see you as being a threat to the nest? Well, it’s because they know you...and your face. That peaceful time together hasn’t gone unnoticed as magpies will recognise faces they know aren’t a threat and not swoop them. In fact, it’s thought they can remember up to 1000 different faces.

The challenge is when we’re on bikes or jogging along a street, we arrive into a magpie’s territory in a rush and their protective instincts kick in. They then swoop hard!

Continue to run, ride-by or worse still, fend them off with a stick or umbrella and you'll only inflame the political situation here. The man of the magpie house will continue to flex his mini muscles.

However, according to Giselle Kaplan at UNE, if you stand your ground at a safe distance, slowly take your hat off and show them your face (provided there’s not a maggie swoop mission incoming...TIP: keep sunglasses on or cover your face until you’re sure) before slowly moving on, they’ll then remember you as a ‘friendly face’ and take you off the swoop list. I’d be sure to supervise kids through the process. Some of these seasonal shoppers can be serious!

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