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Magpie swooping season tips

HerCanberra Team

With Spring just around the corner Canberrans are urged to be aware that magpie swooping season has begun.

“Magpies are an important part of the Canberra environment and for most of the year they are good neighbours. During their six week breeding season, however, they become territorial and may swoop people and other animals in the area of their nest to protect their young,” said Daniel Iglesias, Director, ACT Parks and Conservation.

“Not all magpies are threatened by people with only some swooping. It is important not to aggravate magpies or retaliate as they can become more aggressive if irritated.”

People can follow simple precautions that can help avoid being swooped by a magpie

  • Walk through the magpie’s territory quickly, but don’t run
  • Take a different route next time
  • Protect your head with an umbrella, hat or helmet and your eyes with glasses
  • Look towards the magpie
  • Attach a flag or streamers on a stick to your backpack or bike.

“Magpies are generally gentle, timid birds, but during the breeding months they can become highly territorial. Not surprisingly, magpies become most aggressive after being provoked or harassed.

“The ACT Government erects warning signs in the most troublesome areas. Other areas where magpie swooping is prevalent can be reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.”

Please note, harming native birds is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act 1980. Further information on living with magpies is available from


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