While the first day of spring is a joyous occasion, there’s no denying that it also marks a dreaded time of the year: magpie season.
For the next few weeks Aussies will have to watch their six as they walk in the streets as a dreaded bird likes to swoop down and nip you.
Canberra cyclist Andrew Garrett spoke of his countless experiences during the swooping season.
And while he remains unscathed, the cyclist has definitely had a few close calls.
"Only a couple of times I've had bad encounters with overzealous maggies; nicked ears on one occasion, and claws drawing blood from my back another time. Otherwise the bike helmet takes most of the punishment, which doesn't worry me too much," he told ABC News.
During this time, the birds build their nests and care for their babies while protecting them from perceived threats coming into contact with their designated area.
The swooping lasts for around six weeks as their newborns mature.
However, only about 10 per cent of magpies swoop.
Still, we don’t like those odds, which is why we’ve included a few ways to avoid an attack.
Professor of wildlife ecology and conservation biology at the University of New England, Dr Karl Vernes, told The New Daily that people should maintain eye contact with the bird.
“Just maintain eye contact with the bird, and if it does swoop you when you’re looking at it, which can happen but it’s much rarer, just throwing your arms up in the air as the bird’s in mid-flight is enough to disturb it and frighten it back to a tree,” he said.
It is only a small proportion of males that swoop. And if you are in Tasmania you are in luck - magpies don't swoop in Tassie!— Birds in Backyards (@UrbanBirdsOz) August 31, 2022
Wear a hat and sunnies if you are out somewhere that might have a swooping magpie (like the local park) to protect your face and eyes, just in case
Also, you might want to consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat, some glasses or even an umbrella in case you accidentally come close to a magpie nest.
Travelling in packs works like a charm as well.
But worst case scenario, if a magpie decides you hone in on you, national public affairs manager at Birdlife Australia Sean Dooley recommends placing your hands over your head.
“Waving your arms around or a stick or something is only going to make the bird more angry, so the best thing to do is walk, not run, away from the area,” he told Sydney Morning Herald.
He added: “So, walk as fast as you can but don’t run, protect your face, and get out of there as quickly as possible to minimise your risk of injury."
Featured Image Credit: Dave Watts / Alamy Stock Photo. Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo