In fact, Australia is thought to be a hotspot for cooperative behaviour in birds worldwide. Properties suitable for magpies are hard to come by and the competition is fierce. During nesting, you barely see the black-and-white flash as the magpie turns into a flying missile, swooping down on unsuspecting humans and delivering painful and often dangerous pecks. One idea is that randy male magpies – like many neglected fathers of newborns – develop a case of blue balls and angrily take it out on passersby. Also, magpies usually go back to the same spot every year, so if there was a swooping danger zone on your route last year, it is likely to be there again this year. Swooping magpies. ... Magpie swooping … Over 80% of all successfully breeding magpies live near human houses, which means the vast majority of people, in fact, never get swooped. Magpies are an intellegent bird, able to recognise upto 100 individuals and will swoop riders from 50- 100m away from their nest. There is a lot at stake with every magpie clutch. And based on extensive magpie population research conducted by R. Carrick in the 1970s, even if they breed successfully every single year, they may successfully raise only seven to eleven chicks to adulthood and breeding in a lifetime. The curious magpie following the author’s movements in her home (Photo by G.Kaplan no reuse). Two questions come to mind when you’ve been attacked by a magpie: Will I ever see out of that eye again? When magpies have formed an attachment they will often show their trust, for example, by formally introducing their offspring. Why do Magpies Swoop? During nesting, you barely see the black-and-white flash as the magpie turns into a flying missile, swooping down on unsuspecting humans and delivering painful and often dangerous pecks. Last year, the ABC looked at the Tasmanian magpie anomaly, but couldn’t actually figure out why magpies were less swoopy there. “The magpies perceive that there’s threat to their chicks and they respond aggressively to that threat.” So it’s a case of taking over protective parenting a bit too literally. Have several of these beautiful birds living in trees across the road from me. There’s nothing we can do to change it but we can take steps to understand why they swoop and what we can do to protect our precious pets! –even when adult males are protecting their nests during the swooping season? “In that case, they would be over-stressed magpies that are being harassed by humans and go nuts, but that’s an extreme,’’ he said. But more often than not it seems to be very personal. Magpies only swoop within 50 metres of their nests so stay away from known magpie nesting areas. Dr Woehler said the Tasmanian magpies were really no different so it was unclear why they didn’t swoop as much. They can learn which nearby humans do not constitute a risk. “Some people said it was the colour yellow or because girls had long hair. This human approach may well confirm for the magpie that the person concerned is dangerous and needs to be fought with every available strategy. When magpies are permanently ensconced on human property, they are also far less likely to swoop the people who live there. Charities slammed by triple threat as coronavirus damage takes its toll, Vegans rising: Australia second in the world for veganism as Gen Z snubs lab-grown meat, Industry super funds to invest $33 billion in job creation, Victorian real estate agents push back against calls to block rent reductions, Call for diversity as Aussie model with disability prepares for catwalk at New York Fashion Week, Eureka Prizes 2018: World’s most precise clock takes out science gong. From July to November each year, magpies build their nests and raise their young in a limited area known as a territory. Read more: Bird-brained and brilliant: Australia’s avians are smarter than you think. And why me? Why do they swoop? Please sign in to contribute to the Mamamia Community. During this time, magpies build nests to raise their fledglings (chicks). Almost all attacks are made by male birds that see people who ride or walk as a threat to their young. They may allow their chicks to play near people, not fly away when a resident human is approaching, and actually approach or roost near a human. It’s still to be determined, but there seems to be a greater chance of an attack in places where lots of people are walking about – such as parks, school playgrounds and carparks – causing elevated stress. Magpies are really annoying when they swoop, and there are a lot of different explanations about why they swoop. Magpie swooping is generally a defensive action taken when someone unknown approaches who the magpie believes intends harm. Magpie swooping season is well underway - and most of the time victims don't get any notice the birds are about to strike. Magpies have been shown to swoop all over Australia but mystery surrounds why they rarely attack in Tasmania. Swooping Magpie Safety Tips Last years statistics at magpiealert.com shows that 14% of attacks resulted in injury so checkout these tips to help prevent attacks. Most of the year, Magpies are completely harmless but for six weeks whilst their young are in the nest, Magpies can be extremely defensive and territorial. The attacks are made when something has been interpreted as a threat, something that they feel a predator might do. Magpies are smart, extremely territorial and will swoop riders from up to 100m away from their nest. Naturally, magpies will want to defend their nests from intruders. Ronnie - August 27th, 2016 Yes I've had no trouble riding my bike home after dark through the spot I'm being attacked daily during the day by multiple magpies. But as the staring continued, the magpie swooped closer. Cyclists are a fast moving target seen as a threat to a nesting group of magpies. Magpies only swoop for about six weeks of the year when they have babies in their nest, often at the start of spring. So, I am guessing no one has any idea why these Magpies keep swooping only my chooks? The mystery of why some magpies swoop human beings so aggressively during breeding season – nests are being built at this moment – has led to some colourful theories. Heightened testosterone was discounted immediately because the timing was wrong: the attacks only occur when there are chicks in the nest. Most magpies will not secure a territory – let alone breed – until they are at least five years old. The bird was curious about everything I did. It is not an arbitrary attack. A magpie will only defend its nest within a ‘defence zone’. That person is then classified as a territorial intruder and thus a potential risk to its brood. There was an error submitting the form. For example, magpies have helped me garden by walking in parallel to my weeding activity and displacing soil as I did. The attacks only occur when breeding is in play and the attacks occur when the magpie believes the nest is under threat from a predator. He was v proud squawking and nodding etc. swooping magpies have locals in a flap Only males attack and it only occurs during the breeding season because they are adapted to protect their young, not to defend territory. Why Do Magpies Swoop? Over 80% of all successfully breeding magpies live near human houses, which means the vast majority of people, in fact, never get swooped. This time of the year is commonly referred to as swooping season. Apparently it’s … Fearless magpie in pursuit of larger and dangerous brown goshawk keeping themselves and other. The colourful theories of the iconic bird’s breeding season. Taking a piece of mince or taking a wide berth around the magpies nest may eventually convince the nervous magpie that he does not need to deter this individual anymore because she or he poses little or no risk, and who knows, may even become a friend in future. It’s all about defending the nest.’’. Like many animal behaviours, the swooping is connected to the breeding season, which is from late August to early October. Read the original article. This time of the year is commonly referred to as swooping season. If magpies can be so good with humans how can one explain their swooping at people (even if it is only for a few weeks in the year)? Only a small proportion of magpies swoop on people and these often have a preference for a few individuals that the birds recognise or certain types of ‘targets’ like pedestrians and cyclists. Why do magpies swoop? A key reason why friendships with magpies are possible is that we now know that magpies are able to recognise and remember individual human faces for many years. A magpie’s defensive behaviour can range from a non-contact swoop with or without beak snapping through to pecking, dive-bombing and sometimes front-on attacks from the ground. In defence of magpies: the bird world’s bad boy is simply misunderstood, Bird-brained and brilliant: Australia’s avians are smarter than you think. Believe it or not, only between eight and 10 per cent of magpies ever swoop people. He also swoops me in the kindy yard and there are 10-15 other adults not including the children in the yard, but he always swoops me. On one extraordinary occasion, an adult female magpie gingerly entered my house on foot, and hopped over to my desk where I was sitting. Didn’T swoop as much boy is simply misunderstood – back off magpie turf ; testosterone – pumped up and.... 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