Swooping season begins

DELWP is reminding the community to beware of swooping birds. (Supplied)

Tate Papworth

Spring is in the air and so are swooping birds.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding the community to take care in at-risk areas following reports of birds such as magpies and masked lapwings swooping at locations around Melbourne.

Native birds swoop humans (and their dogs) to defend their young for the six to eight weeks between when they hatch and when they leave the nest.

DELWP senior wildlife management officer Rebecca Dixon said swooping occurs every year during breeding season and is largely a defensive manoeuvre.

“For some species, including magpies, this is carried out primarily by males; swooping birds account for less than 10 per cent of the population,” Ms Dixon said.

“Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour.

“The best way to avoid being swooped is to avoid the area altogether, though this isn’t always possible.

“If you do end up in an area where there is a swooping bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move quickly through the area without running.”

Some hotspots in previous years include public spaces beside the Maribyrnong River from Yarraville north-west to Taylors Lakes and in or around suburban parks with tall eucalypts.

To report a swooping incident by any species of bird, visitt: www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds

Tate Papworth