Two magpies swoop to defend their territory from a postman on a motorbike.
Two magpies swoop to defend their territory from a postman on a motorbike. Kevin Farmer

How to stay safe from nesting magpies

PEOPLE have tried everything from creating zip tie helmet mohawks to painting eyes on their hats to save themselves from the ire of the overprotective magpie.

But here are the official tips from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to keep you safe during magpie season.

  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses or shelter under an umbrella to protect your face from swooping magpies
  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.
  • Avoid 'defence zones' around magpie nests by taking alternative routes during the breeding season.
  • If you must enter a 'defence zone', magpies will be less likely to swoop if they are watched constantly, or if people walk in close groups.
  • Use signs to warn others of the location of nests and defence zones, particularly in areas used by children and the elderly.
  • Waving sticks or umbrellas in the air or attaching a brightly coloured flag on a long pole to your bicycle can stop magpies from swooping.
  • If a magpie swoops shield your face and head and leave the area quickly but carefully, being mindful of your surroundings such as roads.  
  • Never approach a young magpie. If you pick them up or get too close the parent bird may think you are a possible predator.


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