I originally heard about swooping season in the Tumblr thread that I’ve posted below, and it seemed to incredible to believe. So I started researching and sure enough, it’s true! These beautiful black and white birds are very protective of their nests.
This is so real. Not only does Australia have the majority of the world’s poisonous spiders and snakes, they also have 4-6 weeks of terror not knowing if a crazy bird is going to swoop down and try to pluck out their eyes. That’s nuts!
Most attacks end without real injury, but some are seriously injured. You can lose an eye or chunks of flesh from beaks or claws. The real issue however is the attacks can cause accidents. There have been fatalities from people being attacked and losing control of a bicycle and causing an accident.
Swooping Season Facts
– Less than 9% of the magpie population physically swoop at people.
– 99% of the magpies that attack are male.
– They generally attack pedestrians at around 160 feet from their nest, and cyclists at around 330 feet.
– There are a few ways that citizens try and protect themselves from the magpies:
- Avoiding known nesting areas.
- Attaching zip or cable ties to a helmet like spikes.
- Wearing large brimmed hats.
- Walking with an umbrella or a stick, magpies will attack the highest point.
- Drawing eyes on the back of a hat or helmet, magpies like to swoop in from behind and will generally not attack if you are looking them in the eyes.
- Some also wear sunglasses on the back of their heads.
- Another common way to protect yourself is to wear an empty ice cream tub/bucket like a helmet, which is a pretty great visual.
I guess swooping season is a great excuse to eat a giant tub of ice cream. “It’s for protection, I need the bucket. So I have to finish this before swooping season.” Maybe I should move to Australia, I love ice cream.
If you like this fact you should check out our Science Category!
And if you would like to learn more about keeping safe during swooping season click here!