Magpies scare many people at the best of times but when they swoop it can be terrifying and dangerous, so why do they swoop and what can you do?
The reason they swoop is to protect their nests when their young are in there, meaning that it will only happen during the breeding season, which is between August to early October. The male magpie swoops to protect its young and while most of the time they do not make contact that can still be scary, especially for children or the infirm. They will generally make a lot of agitated noise before they swoop so make sure you learn to recognise this.
However, sometimes they go beyond swooping and actually attack people, causing injuries that can be very serious. For this reason it is important to do everything you can to minimise the chances of being swooped.
This means being especially careful during breeding season, avoiding areas where magpies nest and moving fast if you hear them making noises. It pays to check your child’s route to and from school to see if there are any nesting magpies on the way. Many people believe that wearing a wide brimmed hat helps, but the reality is that the best way of avoiding it is avoiding the areas where they are nesting.