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Night chirps mean magpie swoops are near

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016 Marnie Banger

Magpie swooping season is almost upon us, with night time chirping a sign that it might be time to start thinking about the protective headgear.

The SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources says the birds have already started building nests and holding "street meetings" to set territorial boundaries.

While spring may be the peak of magpie activity, Dr Deb Kelly from the department says swooping can start as early as mid-August, when baby birds hatch.

"It's good to remember that magpies aren't being malicious if they swoop you," Dr Kelly said.

"They're defending their young from perceived threats, and they only swoop within about 50m of their nests for the six weeks that it takes from hatching to fledging."

The department's advice for staying safe among the birds includes walking slowly in areas with nests and avoiding locking eyes with them.

"The best tactic is to take a slight detour around known nesting sites if possible," Dr Kelly said.

Unfortunately, the department's advice seems to have come too late for some -with one Adelaide man posting on Facebook in late July that he was "feeling very attacked" by the birds.

"Go away magpie pls don't swoop me!" the status exclaimed.

TIPS FOR SURVIVING SWOOPING SEASON:

Walk, don't run, past nests

Travel in groups

Carry an open umbrella or wear sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat

If you ride a bike, get off your bike and walk it through through magpie territory, or have a flag on the back of the back that is higher than your head

Do not provoke magpies by waving your arms or shouting at them

Avoid making eye contact with the birds

If you know of an area where magpies swoop, put up a sign to warn passers-by

SOURCE: SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

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