July to December is nesting season for many of our native birds.
During this time, some birds can become overprotective of their nests and young, and residents may be swooped.
Some of the more well-known species that exhibit this behaviour are magpies, plovers and butcherbirds.
- Only a small percentage of parent birds will exhibit swooping behaviour.
- The birds that do swoop, are only being protective parents.
- Native birds are protected throughout New South Wales, and it is against the law to kill native birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young.
- Birds that swoop are protecting their young. The protective, swooping behaviour usually only lasts for about 6 weeks.
- Magpies will only swoop within 50 - 100m radius from the nest. For cyclists the radius can be a bit wider (e.g. 150m away from the nest).
- Unlike magpies and butcherbirds who lay their eggs in trees, plovers lay their eggs on the ground. As a result, they are very protective of their eggs and young and if people get too close, will swoop as a warning.
There are a few precautions people can take during the breeding season:
Magpies Swooping Brochure(PDF, 203KB)
Swooping Birds Plovers(PDF, 393KB)
For more information visit the NSW Government’s website on the management of native birds that show aggression to people.