Beware, prepare, swooping season is here!

Lui Zacher
July 29, 2022 / 2:47 am

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We’re being reminded it’s that time of the year when birds become more active, and protective, with birds swooping to protect their nest and offspring.

Native birds such as magpies and masked lapwings (commonly referred to as plovers) will become increasingly hostile when people approach their nesting areas.

Only 10% of birds engage in swooping, and the City of Greater Geelong said it’s rare for a bird to cause injury.

Each breeding pair will generally swoop for up to six weeks, until it’s chicks can fly, and all native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975, so it is against the law to harm birds, or interfere with nests. 

You can minimise the risk of being swooped by:

  • Avoiding nesting areas where birds are swooping if possible; or
  • Protecting head and eyes; and
  • Moving through the area quickly.

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Councillor Jim Mason, Chair of the Environment portfolio, said residents should be prepared to modify their behaviour during this period.

“Native birds are a vital feature of our natural environment and are rightly afforded legal protection.

“Residents can use some simple measures, like protecting your head and either avoiding or moving through a breeding area quickly, to minimise the chances of being swooped.

“We encourage residents who want to report a swooping bird on City-managed land to contact us.”

Mr Mason said if you wish to report a swooping bird on City-managed land, you can call 5272 5272.

The behaviour of the bird will be assessed and, if necessary, warning signs will be placed at the site.

You can also check out the Victorian Swooping Bird Map shows hot spots where people have been swooped during the current or previous breeding season, and also report swooping incidents yourself – visit



Images: The Australian Magpie [A. Skates]