Swooping birds

Native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is an offence to harass or destroy native birds or their eggs. Some native birds, including Australian Magpies and Masked Lapwings (also known as plovers), are highly protective of their eggs, nest and young and will often swoop unsuspecting passers-by if they feel threatened.  Only a small percentage of birds attack during spring as a warning to ward off intruders to their territory, which may include your local park, backyard or schoolyard.

Some simple things you can do to protect yourself against swooping birds include:

  • Know your local swooping hotspots - keep informed about parks, schoolyards and bike trails in your local area by reading your local paper or viewing Victoria’s ‘Swooping Birds Map’.
  • Avoid the area - the best way to protect yourself from a swooping bird is to avoid venturing into their territory.
  • Move quickly - if you must pass through the area, move quickly, do not run.
  • Cover your head - wear a hat or carry a stick or umbrella above your head. Cyclists can dismount and walk through the area.
  • Draw a pair of eyes and attach to the back of hats and helmets - birds may be less likely to swoop if they think you are watching them.

For more information, see the state government's top ten tips to protect yourself against swooping birds.