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TRAVEL & LEISURE

This Handy Map Will Help You Avoid Magpies This Swooping Season

And we've got some extra tips to keep encounters with the swoopy boys to a minimum, too.
By Libby Curran
September 07, 2021
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By Libby Curran
September 07, 2021
  shares

Getting swooped by magpies is about as Aussie as tucking into a parma at the pub, with those feathered missiles offering a clear and feisty reminder that spring has indeed, sprung. But you might be able to avoid a few unwanted avian attacks this year, with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's nifty Swooping Bird Map in your artillery. After all, with Melbourne's current lockdown restrictions, who wants to be wasting any of their daily outdoor recreation time dancing with swoopy fauna?

The online map highlights spots around the state where locals have fallen — ahem — fowl of nesting birds and copped a swoop for it. Click on one of the bird-shaped map pins and it'll show you the number and breed of bird bandits that have recorded incidents in that area, mapping out the nesting territories you'd best avoid.

Anyone can easily add a new swoop site to the map, recording the date of an attack and even leaving a comment. There have been some rather animated warnings, too, including: "Crikey! swooped me dog!!!" referring to a particular feathered fiend in West Footscray and, "Infinite birds. All of Princes Park is an absolute red zone. Pass through at own risk." One Abbotsford commenter shared their unfortunate tale of a visit to the eye and ear hospital, while a whole flock of comments suggests that the path between Holbrook Reserve and Ormond Park in Brunswick West is truly treacherous stuff.

Victoria's Swooping Bird Map

While dives to the head aren't fun, the website shares a gentle reminder that swooping birds are simply trying to protect their eggs and that it's illegal to harass the fluffy helicopter parents back.

In addition to its interactive sighting map, the department's also got some extra tips to help protect yourself against swooping. If you're heading through a nesting territory, it recommends travelling in a group, walking quickly and covering your head by wearing a hat or holding up a stick or umbrella. The 'fake eyes' trick is also a winner, if you don't mind drawing some peepers to stick on the back of your hat or helmet. Retaliation is a no-no, as destroying nests or interfering with the birds will only make them stick around longer. And, of course, it's always helpful to give others a heads up about swooping sites, which you can do online via the Swooping Bird Map.

Check out the Swooping Bird Map online now on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Published on September 07, 2021 by Libby Curran

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