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Residents warned to watch for swooping magpies

Echuca and District residents are being to watch their heads as they enter magpie zones, with the territorial birds ready to swoop.

GEORDIE COWAN August 13, 2014 3:20am

Echuca’s magpies have started targeting unprotected heads early this year.

Echuca’s Lea Osmond contacted the Riv to help alert people to the dangers of swooping magpies in parks after being attacked on Sunday morning.

Mrs Osmond was walking her dog around Rotary Park when she was swooped ‘‘three or four times’’.

‘‘It followed me from tree to tree, all around the park,’’ she said.

‘‘We have a lot of problems with them and I just wanted to let people know it’s happening, because it is quite frightening, especially for children because they may not know what is going on.’’

Campaspe Shire councillor Greg Toll recommended anyone who saw or experienced swooping birds to contact council for information.

Department of Environment and Primary Industries senior wildlife officer Brady Childs said there had also been a report of plovers or masked lapwings swooping in the past fortnight.

‘‘Some birds have already begun protecting their nesting sites by swooping,’’ he said.

‘‘No-one likes being swooped by a territorial bird, but unfortunately this is just normal bird behaviour and, if possible, the best response is to keep away from the area.

‘‘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.’’

Mr Childs said native birds were protected under the Wildlife Act and he encouraged people to notify others in their local areas about swooping birds.

‘‘Report a swooping incident via the Victorian Magpie Map on the DEPI website at www.depi.vic.gov.au so other members of the community can see any swooping hotspots,’’ he said.

A warning sign is also available in the online ‘Swoop Off’ kit on the website.

Geordie Cowan

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