Swooping Birds

Why birds swoop

Native birds, including Australian Magpies, Magpie-larks, Kookaburras, Butcherbirds and Masked Lapwings (Plovers), are highly protective of their eggs, nest and young and will often ‘swoop’ unsuspecting passers-by if they feel threatened. Only a small percentage of birds attack during spring as a ‘warning’ to ward off intruders to their territory, which may include your local park, backyard or schoolyard.

All native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and there are serious penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife. It is illegal to kill birds, or to interfere with their nests containing eggs or young without a permit or authority. 

Top ten tips to protect yourself against swooping birds

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning offer 10 tips for dealing with swooping birds:

  1. Know your local swooping hotspots
  2. Avoid the area
  3. Move quickly
  4. Cover your head
  5. Place fake eyes at the back of your head
  6. Do not harass wildlife
  7. Do not destroy nests
  8. Do not feed swooping birds
  9. Travel in a group
  10. Notify others

For a copy of the brochure, please refer to the DELWP website.

Known bird locations

To assist other members of the community, you can mark a bird-swooping area on Victoria’s ‘Magpie Map’.