Swooping birds

Why birds swoop

Swooping birds can be scary and even dangerous. A bird can fly down close to your head and face, flap its wings and it may attack your face, eyes or head with its beak.

Birds generally swoop within 30 to 50 metres of their nest to protect their nest, eggs or young, and usually during breeding time in winter and spring. Australian magpies and the masked lapwing are the most common swooping birds in Merri-bek.

Swooping birds can cause injuries, especially to cyclists who may fall off their bikes or ride off a bike path.

You can find more information on swooping birds on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Protection of native birds

All native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. There are serious penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife. It is illegal to kill birds, destroy their nests or eggs without a permit or authority.

There is more chance of a bird swooping if it is teased or feels threatened.