Magpie swooping season is here and staying inside might be the best defence against attack.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding Victorians that magpies have started to swoop people as part of their normal breeding behaviour.
DELWP senior wildlife officer Gary Dash said the organisation had already received reports of magpie attacks across Victoria.
‘‘Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour and, if possible, the best response is to keep away from the area,’’ he said.
While that might be good advice, it is unlikely that people in Benalla will avoid popular walking tracks, such as the one around the lake.
Benalla resident Andrea Stevenson said she has adapted her bike helmet to deal with the issue.
‘‘(I haven’t been attacked) yet, but I must find my helmet with the cable ties on,’’ she said.
This is one method many bike riders use to put magpies off, and it is effective.
However, walkers are unlikely to start wearing helmets.
Gary Dash urged people walking under trees to be aware that birds would swoop to protect their eggs and young.
‘‘If you do end up in an area where there is a swooping bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move (away) quickly,’’ he said.
‘‘People should remember not to harm native birds as they are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
‘‘Some of the places where people are most likely to be swooped are public spaces such as parks, particularly where there are tall eucalypts.’’
DELWP is encouraging people to notify others in their local area about swooping birds.
●Report a swooping incident by any species of bird on Victoria’s Magpie Map at https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds