MORNINGTON Peninsula residents are being warned that with spring in the air so too are swooping birds.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning says it is the time native birds swoop humans (and their dogs) to defend their young for the six-eight weeks between when they hatch and when they leave the nest.
Reports are already being received of birds, such as magpies and masked lapwings, swooping surprised passers-by.
Senior wildlife management officer Rebecca Dixon said swooping happened every year during breeding season and was largely a defensive manoeuvre. For some species, including magpies, this is mainly carried out by males.
“Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour,” Ms Dixon said.
“The best way to avoid being swooped is to stay away from the area all together, although this isn’t always possible.
“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 without running.”
Tips to avoid being swooped include avoiding known swooping hotspots and covering your head with a hat, helmet or umbrella – perhaps with a pair of “eyes” on the back.
People should not harass or feed wildlife, Ms Dixon said.
To report a swooping incident by any species of bird and mark its location on the swooping bird map visit wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds
Magpies and other native birds are protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975. Under the Act, it is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife in Victoria.