It’s that time of year when suburban streets transform into battlefields, as warry pedestrians and cyclists become reluctant targets of avian warfare.
Yes, swooping season has begun and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is urging residents to keep an eye to the sky and take particular care around known hotspots:
- Forest Lake
“While swooping season fills many residents with dread, there are simple safety precautions residents can take when they find themselves face-to-face with a feathered offender,” Cr Schrinner said.
“People can wear a broad-brimmed hat, travel in a group (most birds only swoop individuals) and most importantly avoid areas where Council’s warning signs alert people to swooping hotspots.
“Warning signs are located in hotspots across the city and we’ve installed 19 additional signs in Forest Lake, Fairfield, Sherwood, Acacia Ridge, Herston and West End.”
Cr Schrinner said Council received more than 900 complaints of swooping magpies, butcherbirds, plovers (masked lapwings), crows and pee-wees (magpie-larks) this year.
“Breeding season is from July to December and peaks in September. Swooping usually lasting for about six weeks while there are chicks in the nest,” he said.
“While swooping is a terrifying ordeal, contrary to popular belief, the birds aren’t out to get you. They’re just trying to protect their young from potential threats and be good parents.
“It’s important to remember that all native birds are protected species and should not be harmed. The best advice is to avoid known swooping areas.”
Environment, Parks and Sustainability Chair Fiona Cunningham said September marks the beginning of animal ‘trauma season.’
“During breeding season, native animals are more likely to roam, putting them at risk of being hit by a car or bitten by a dog,” Cr Cunningham said.
“From September through to May, the number of wildlife rescues jump and RSPCA Queensland looks after around 80 injured animals a day.
“Residents can do their part to help native animals stay safe this trauma season, by staying vigilant and slowing down on our roads.
“We’re making our roads safer for wildlife, with new habitat poles and climb-outs to help animals escape busy roads and awareness signs alerting drivers to slow down.”
If you encounter other sick or injured wildlife call or take it to a vet or call the RSPCA emergency hotline on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).
Swooping bird activity can be reported to Council on 3403 8888.
How to survive ‘swooping season’:
- Avoid the swoop area during breeding season.
- Travel in a group. Most birds only swoop individuals.
- Do not panic and run, as this only encourages a swooping bird to continue its attack.
- Wear a hat or hold a stick or umbrella over your head to keep a swooping bird at a safe distance.
- Cyclists should dismount and walk away from the swooping zone.
Things to avoid:
- Do not deliberately provoke birds as this may make them more aggressive.
- Do not destroy nests as the birds may re-nest and extend the breeding season.
- Do not feed or befriend swooping birds.
- All native birds are protected under the Queensland Government Nature Conservation Act 1992 and there were serious penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife.