THE magpies aren’t swooping into the AFL finals this year — instead they are harassing the general public.
Magpie swooping season is already here and attacks are being reported all along the eastern coast of the country.
However, they aren’t just giving NSW and Queensland residents a reason to be wary, as attacks are also being reported around much of Victoria.
On Wednesday, we asked you where the hotspots are this season on our Facebook page and the response showed several areas where there have been regular incidents.
‘‘There is one near the Oz Maze and Mini Golf and the police station that seems to target shiny helmets,’’ Robert Lindsay Corry said.
This particular location seems to be one of the major hotspots in the area, this particular magpie being ‘‘a mongrel’’, according to Susan James.
The Campaspe Walking Trail, 208 Oval and the playground at Park Ave were also mentioned as swooping hotspots.
Echuca On Your Bike mechanic James Ross said there were a number of areas where the magpies had set up their kill-zones.
‘‘The areas near the police station and along the Murray Valley Hwy heading out towards Rochester seem to have particularly aggressive magpies,’’ James said.
‘‘I know someone who got swooped by one and they’ve already stopped riding because of how severe the attacks were.’’
James said these attacks were just part of the season, although he thinks they have started earlier than usual this year.
‘‘I think these attacks are happening earlier than usual but I don’t think they are any more severe,’’ he said.
‘‘They nest in the same areas and I think expansions within townships could be contributing to bringing people into more hotspots.’’
Ash Hall Cycles owner Ash Hall agreed the attacks hadn’t been particularly severe but the season had kicked off sooner than usual.
‘‘It is looking like an early start to the season as I got swooped a couple of weeks ago,’’ Ash said.
‘‘I had a customer come in recently as well who has been swooped and he’s had to change his riding style to try and combat them.
‘‘You’d think the magpies would be aware of when the seasons are a bit out of whack but that doesn’t seem to be the case.’’
Ash hoped there wouldn’t be another early start to these attacks next year and have this year’s cycle become commonplace.
‘‘They are definitely earlier this year but I think as people are getting more active and spending more time out and about, the attacks are increasing along with that,’’ he said.
DELWP senior wildlife officer Gary Dash confirmed the initial incidents being reported in the last few weeks and the terror they caused.
‘‘Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour and, if possible, the best response is to keep away from the area,’’ Gary said.
‘‘As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breeding and we want people to be aware of swooping birds.’’
Gary said harming the birds was prohibited under the Wildlife Act 1975 and offered some tips on what to do when caught in a swooping hotspot.
‘‘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,’’ he said.
‘‘They are swooping to defend their eggs and young and if they perceive you to be a potential threat, they may swoop.
‘‘Some of the places where people are most likely to be swooped are public spaces such as parks, particularly where there are tall eucalypts.’’
If you get swooped, report it to Victoria magpie map at www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds