By Linda Laker
The wattles are blooming…
The cherry trees are flowering…
The wind is gusting…
And those great friends of ours, the magpies are back!
Do you know where you are most likely to be swooped in Canberra?
A really helpful place to start is the Magpie Alert website: www.magpiealert.com. Last year we talked with Jon Clark, developer and publisher of the Magpie Alert about his crowd-sourced magpie locator. The way it works is that anyone can record where a magpie swoop occurs. And anyone can search their area to find where and when magpie attacks have been recorded.
In 2021, over 1,100 swooping attacks were recorded on Magpie Alert across Canberra. Rather than let that scare you, use the site to avoid the most problematic areas for the swooping season. On average, the season lasts from mid-August to mid-October each year, with the peak period being late August to the end of September. Magpie Alert has simple charts setting out these statistics – and others such as the type of activity attracting those swooping magpies. (Unfortunately, yes, it’s cycling: but take that with a grain of salt as this is crowd-based information and cyclists might be more likely to use Magpie Alert.)
So check out www.magpiealert.com before you head off on your bike so even if you can’t avoid an area with a swooping maggie, you are forewarned he might be on your route. And, if he swoops, log it on Magpie Alert – helping all your fellow cyclists.
If you want to know more about magpies and their swooping behaviour, you might also like to check out Australian Geographic’s article here.