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Magpies and humans defend

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September 14, 2017

Sue Boyd dons her protective helmet.

When she rides her bike, Yarrawonga resident Sue Boyd feels a little let down with magpies swooping her.

“I have two maggies at home which I handfeed and I tell them to tell their mates not to swoop me,” Sue told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“I feed the lady magpie first and the male magpie just waits his turn - I feed them dry biscuits and mince.”
Cable ties have been added to Sue’s helmet this year, which already contained lights.
“The eyes worked last year but not this year,” she said. “But the cable ties are effective.”
It’s mainly at the top end of Belmore Street that the black and white birds have swooped Sue. “I think they attack me because I’m a Bombers supporter,” she said.
Despite what some people say, the magpies don’t swoop because Collingwood miss the finals. They are simply protecting their young at this time of year and feel threatened by human beings.
*The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) reminds Victorians that some bird species, including Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen), swoop people as part of their normal breeding behaviour.
 “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,” said DELWP Senior Wildlife Officer Gary Dash.
“As the weather starts to warm up, birds start breeding and we want people to be aware of swooping birds.
“People should remember not to harm native birds as they are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
“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.
“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.”
DELWP is encouraging people to notify others in their local area about swooping birds.
Report a swooping incident by any species of bird on Victoria’s Magpie Map https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds

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