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.
The Australian Bird Study Association explained that the season had started a month earlier than usual, sparking fear across the country.
“Public service announcement – Magpie swooping season has started,” it tweeted. It also shared a link to website Magpie Alert, which details some of the hotspots in Australia where attacks are taking place.
To date, 74 attacks have already occurred, while 15 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.
Queensland has seen the most attacks so far this year, making up 39.2 per cent of all attacks in 2018. Areas across the state that have recorded swooping magpies include Karana Downs (4306), Carrara (4211), Aspley (4034), Mountain Creek (4557) and North Lakes (4509).
New South Wales isn’t far behind on 27 per cent, with recent attacks occurring in Greenacre (2190), Newington (2127), Maitland (2320), Bogangar (2488) and Alexandria (2015).
The ACT has made up 8.1 per cent of all attacks, with areas including Canberra (2601), Acton (2601) and Holder (2611) all noticing magpies have started swooping. It’s a similar scene across Victoria, with Broadford (3658), Drysdale (3222), Euroa (3666) and St Kilda (3182) proving to be magpie hotspots.
There’s only been a small number of attacks in South Australia’s Mitchell Park (5043), Seacombe Heights (5047) and Auldana (5072), while there have been no recorded attacks yet in Western Australia or the Northern Territory.
Others have also taken to social media, warning others about potentially dangerous birds.
One person on Twitter wrote: “The first magpie attack of ‘the Spring’ for me. August 4 is way too early. A very keen magpie got me good on Streeton Drive at Holder this afternoon.”
Another wrote: “Spring has sprung in Sydney, I was dive-bombed 3-times as I cycled innocently by an Australian Magpie. It was defending its breeding territory. It’s hard to believe this species was votes Oz favourite bird in 2017 over the charming White Ibis.”
Spring has sprung in Sydney, I was dive-bombed 3-times as I cycled innocently by an Australian Magpie. It was defending its breeding territory.
— John Martin (@Wingtags) July 28, 2018