Swooping birds

Swooping birds
During spring, it’s that time of year when we need to be alert (not alarmed) for swooping birds. During spring, it’s that time of year when we need to be alert (not alarmed) for swooping birds. Environment
Beware Swooping Birds


Spring is the time to be alert, but not alarmed, about swooping birds.

A number of native bird species are territorial. Magpies, butcherbirds, noisy miners and masked lapwings (plovers), establish and protect a territory during the breeding season. They may act aggressively toward other birds, domestic pets and people they perceive as threats to their nests and chicks.

For most of the year these birds are not aggressive, but for a few weeks while they are nesting, they can defend their territory vigorously. People walking past may be seen as 'invaders' of the territory, prompting the bird to fly low and fast over the person, clacking their bills as they pass overhead. The experience of a bird swooping can be quite alarming, but it’s usually only a warning. Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws.

If a bird swoops:

  • Walk quickly and carefully away from the area, and avoid walking there when birds are swooping.
  • Walk in groups where possible as the birds often target individuals.
  • Try to keep an eye on the bird while walking carefully away. These birds are less likely to swoop if you look at them.
  • Carry an open umbrella, stick or small branch above your head, but do not swing it as this will only provoke the bird to attack.
  • If you are riding a bicycle, get off it and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.

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The City of Canterbury Bankstown acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, water and skies of Canterbury-Bankstown, the Darug (Darag, Dharug, Daruk, Dharuk) People. We recognise and respect Darug cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge the First Peoples’ continuing importance to our CBCity community.