Swooping Magpies

Magpies are characteristic of the Australian urban environment and their social behaviour and distinctive song provides enjoyment for many people. They are protected throughout NSW, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs or harm their young. If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, you should report it to the nearest National Parks and Wildlife Service office on (02) 6966 8100.

Magpie pairs breed in Spring (August–October) and with this comes the magpies’ natural behaviour to defend the territory around their nesting site. This may result in magpies swooping either people or pets who they see as a threat to their nest. This generally takes place for about 8 weeks in spring (August to October), starting when the adult pair is nesting and finishing when the young leave the nest.

Known locations you should avoid in swooping season

  • Darlington Point: End of Hay Road near the intersection with Kidman Way
  • Darlington Point: Griffith side of the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River
  • Darlington Point: Skate Park
  • Darlington Point: Entrances to the common (from Chant Street and King Street)
  • Darlington Point: White Street
  • Darlington Point: Young Street
  • Jerilderie: Bunyola Boulevard
  • Jerilderie: Southern end of Monash Park (Nowranie Street)
  • Jerilderie: Lake Jerilderie - adjacent to Memorial Park
  • Jerilderie Medical Centre, 65 Mahonga Street
  • Jerilderie Ambulance Station, 31 Southey Street
  • Jerilderie: Rankin Road on the corner of the new estate
  • Jerilderie: Wonga Court
  • Jerilderie: Around the Lake, Memorial Park near the cenotaph
  • Jerilderie: From St Joseph's School to Council office down Kennedy Street.

Reduce your chances of being swooped!

You can take the following precautions during the period when magpies are swooping.

  • avoid the swooping area by taking an alternative route or staying at least 150 m clear of the nesting area
  • don't deliberately provoke or harass the birds as this may make them more aggressive
  • never approach or try to pick up a young magpie
  • take care as injuries can occur as a result of the birds striking
  • wear a large, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses or carry an open umbrella. You can place eyes on the back of hats and umbrellas and this may reduce the likelihood of the birds swooping.
  • keep an eye on the bird as this may discourage attacks
  • walk in a group whenever possible
  • make a temporary sign to warn others.

Bike riders:

  • if possible, take an alternative route
  • get off your bike and walk through the bird's territory
  • wear sunglasses
  • fit a flag or decorations on your bike or helmet.