September marks the start of magpie swooping season

Released 02/09/2019

Canberrans are reminded to be aware of magpie swooping season as we leave winter behind and head outdoors in spring.

“Now is the time when magpies are beginning to build their nests and care for their young in our region,” Director, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Justin Foley said.

“Swooping is a defensive method for magpies to protect their young when they feel threatened by intruders.

“While a majority of magpies are not prone to swooping, their instincts kick in when feeling threatened. When people harass magpies, it encourages increasingly aggressive behaviour.”

People can follow simple precautions to help avoid being swooped:

  • walk quickly through magpie territory, but don’t run
  • take alternate routes if possible
  • wear hats, helmets, glasses or take an umbrella
  • keep domestic animals on leash while in magpie territory
  • maintain eye contact with the magpie
  • walk bikes through magpie territory.

“Magpies are such an iconic native bird and it is important that they are protected from harm,” Mr Foley said.

“All native birds, their eggs, young and their nests are protected and it is illegal to interfere with them in any way.”

If there is a territorial magpie in your neighbourhood, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81. Rangers can determine whether warning signs need to be installed.

For more information on living with magpies visit

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