All Victorian native wildlife is protected by law, and it is illegal to harass or harm native birds and other wildlife without authorisation.
Swooping birds can be a frightening experience. However, not all birds swoop to protect their eggs and young during the breeding season, so don't be concerned simply because there are magpies or other common swooping birds in the area.
To easily identify swooping birds, see our list of common swooping birds, or check out our Flickr gallery.
Victoria's Swooping Bird Map
Being aware of swooping areas can also help us avoid venturing into these birds' territories and take extra precautions while protecting their nests and young.
The Victorian Swooping Bird Map shows locations where people were swooped, mainly during the annual spring breeding season.
You can toggle between two map layers showing swoop incidents for the current and the last year.
To toggle between map layers, click on the cog to the left of the "Find Location" field and select which year you want to view and which background map.
To add a new swoop site, click on the magpie to the right of the "Find Location" bar, and then find and click the location you were swooped on the map.
Top ten tips to protect yourself against swooping birds
Know your local swooping hotspots
Keep informed about parks, schoolyards and bike trails in your local area by reading your local newspapers, viewing Victoria’s ‘Magpie Map’ or contacting your local council.
Avoid the area
The best way to protect yourself from a swooping bird is to avoid venturing into their territory.
If you must pass through the area – move calmly and quickly – do not run.
Cover your head
Wear a hat or carry a stick or umbrella above your head. Cyclists should wear a helmet, dismount and walk through the area.
Eyes at the back of your head
Birds may be less likely to swoop if they think you are watching them. Draw a pair of ‘eyes’ and attach to the back of hats and helmets.
Do not harass wildlife
Don’t interfere with or throw stones at birds. This gives them added reason to see humans as a threat and may increase swooping behaviour.
Do not destroy nests
This may prompt birds to rebuild their nests, prolonging the swooping behaviour.
Don’t feed swooping birds
This may encourage swooping behaviour.
Travel in a group
If possible, try to travel in a group in areas where there are swooping birds.
Put up warning signs for others who may not be aware that there are swooping birds in the area, or ask your council to do so.
Native birds can swoop in urban and rural areas, in parks and gardens, along bike tracks and in school yards, or anywhere that birds are nesting.
Page last updated: 19/09/22