Magpie warning: Swooping season comes early with huge rise in attacks

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Magpie swooping season has already started across parts of Australia. Source: Getty

Magpie swooping season has started early this year as the number of bird-related attacks has begun to rack up all over the country.

Magpie Alert, a website designed to track and record attacks Australia-wide, has mapped out magpie hotspots around the country and Queensland has seen the most attacks so far this year, making up 47.5 per cent of all in 2019.

Areas across the state that have recorded swooping magpies include Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, New South Wales isn’t far behind on 32.5 per cent, with recent attacks occurring in Sydney, Wollongong and Bathurst.

The ACT has made up 12.5 per cent of all attacks, with areas including Canberra, Gordon, Curtin and Ngunnawal all noticing magpies have started swooping.

There’s only been a small number in Victoria, with recent attacks occurring in Melbourne, while there have been no recorded attacks yet in Western Australia or the Northern Territory.

While magpies are generally innocent creatures for most of the year, most Australians know that the birds can become particularly vicious when protecting their young.

Many people do their best to protect themselves by walking different routes, wearing helmets and goggles and staying away from swooping birds during Spring, but it turns out swooping season has started early this year.

To date, 40 attacks have already occurred, while 10 people have reported injuries after being swooped by a magpie. According to the site, magpies are actually protected in Australia, meaning it’s against the law for anyone to intentionally harm or kill a magpie, their young or to collect their eggs.

Instead, concerned residents can contact their local council if birds are becoming increasingly aggressive, while Aussies can also report attacks on the magpie alert website to inform others in the community.

“Swooped by three magpies while outside our house,” a concerned user from Mount Saint Thomas in Wollongong warned. “We are a family with young children. When I went outside I heard the magpie calls. Then I saw a shadow shortly after three magpies returned. At this time my oldest 3 year old, was swooped on the arm and has a bruise from one of the magpie.”

Meanwhile, a user from the Gold Coast wrote: “I go [through] this park everyday to go to work and I wasn’t expecting an attack in July! It hit my helmet so many times and scared me so much! I wish there was something I could do cause this way is my only option to get to work!”

The website recommends keeping alert, travelling in groups and to wear sun glasses and a hat to stay protected throughout the magpie swooping season. 

What do you think? How do you protect yourself against magpie attacks? Have you been swooped this year?

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