There isn't a word for a fear of magpies, but that's a good thing because they are an amazing species.
Having said that, a small proportion of magpies do swoop.
Birdlife Australia's Dr Holly Parsons said only 10 per cent of the magpie population attacked.
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"They are invariably males who love their offspring just a little too much, and in their protective zeal, will attack anyone or anything they feel is a threat," Dr Parsons said.
"They tend to attack from behind by swooping over your head and clacking its beak, but this is usually this is just a warning, so don't panic."
However, they can do serious damage when they attack, so swooping birds need to be treated with caution.
Here are some tips to avoid being a victim this spring:
- The most straightforward solution is to avoid locations where you know a magpie is swooping. Swooping only lasts a few weeks, so it is a minor inconvenience that could save you some blood, sweat and tears.
- If you do get swooped, don't panic and run away screaming. Instead, walk away quickly and calmly and maintain eye contact with them as they are less likely to swoop you if you are watching them.
- Have a pair of sunglasses on hand any time you are going for a walk and especially in a park to protect your eyes.
- Pop an umbrella up if there is a swooping magpie around, but don't wave it and antagonise the bird.
Be vigilant during a few months of the year, but otherwise marvel at their antics and enjoy them in your local parks and gardens.
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