Swooping Magpie Safety Tips

Last years statistics at magpiealert.com shows that 14% of attacks resulted in injury so checkout these tips to help prevent attacks.

Below is a list of safety tips that we've collected over the past 5 seasons from our readers that may help with preventing and avoiding a magpie attack.

  • Keep alert and pay attention for any magpie nesting sites.
  • Travel in groups where possible as the birds often target individuals.
  • Keep an ear open for their distinctive calls.
  • Wear sun glasses and with a hat to protect your head and eyes.
  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.
  • If you spot a magpie nesting site then stay well clear and even plan alternative routes.
  • Remember magpies are urban species too, so there is generally no escaping them!
  • If you get swooped then tell others, log the attack here and inform your local council.
  • Do not provoke the magpies, they are very territorial and will protect their nests.
  • Try making friends with the magpies by feeding them with raw mince, slithers of steak and some readers have suggested cat food works too.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or carry an umbrella.
  • It is important to try to stay calm, if you panic and flap then this is more likely to appear as aggressive behaviour and provoke a further attack.
  • Try to protect your eyes with your hands, those large beaks are very sharp and eye injuries have been previously recorded.
  • Magpies seem to have very good memories and have attacked the same people over subsequent seasons and others they just leave alone. If it's attacked you before probably a good idea to use an alternative route next season!
  • A rider reports "I have found it super easy to wave one arm in the air while riding to keep maggies away", perhaps it works for walkers too.
  • Face the magpie they tend to attack from behind so facing them should avert an attack. See our stories section for details how I faced off at won!

We are continuously updating the tips through your own submissions. If you would like to add some safety advice then please sign-up to submit your tips.

When do Magpies Stop Swooping?

We have been asked a number of times when do magpies actually stop swooping so here is our best answer.

Male magpies only swoop during mating season in spring due to a huge increase in testosterone where they become over protective dads. The mating season can vary from state to state but generally is between late August to late October, with the occasional borderline case.

We occasionally hear that some people are continually plagued by a particular bird throughout the year but this is very rare. Dog walkers tend to be targeted and you could speculate that it's most likely down to the magpies fearing the dogs rather than the walkers due to some previous experience. e.g.

We are swooped on all the time because of our big black dog, most especially at the park. Read more.Amester

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