Magpie season has residents ducking for cover

Published on 14 September 2022

Swooping birds

Magpie season has swooped into Benalla Rural City with the arrival of spring and the breeding season for many bird species.

While many native bird species are highly protective of their nests, including Australian Magpies that will ‘swoop’ if they feel threatened, residents are reminded that all native species are protected by law.

Benalla Rural City Council Mayor Cr Bernie Hearn has warned people not to harass wildlife, as this could actually increase swooping behaviour.

“Magpies are native birds, and Council cannot stop them swooping or remove them from certain areas,” Cr Hearn said.

“Swooping can occur any time of the year, however it is increased in spring when the birds are protecting their nests.

“We encourage people to be on alert and aware of the areas that magpies reside in, where swooping may occur.

“And do not attempt to destroy nests or feed swooping birds.

“The best strategy is to report and avoid swooping hotspots.”

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has identified the intersection of Waller and Margaret streets as an active swooping hotspot in Benalla, with Council recently installing signs alerting residents and passers-by of swooping birds.

To report a swooping incident by any species of bird, mark its location on Victoria's swooping bird map at

DELWP also offer tips for protecting yourself against swooping birds: 

  • Avoid the area
  • Move quickly but don’t run 
  • Cover your head 
  • Don’t harass wildlife or damage nests
  • Don’t feed swooping birds
  • If you’re a cyclist, ‘eyes’ on the back of your helmet (drawn, or stuck on) can be helpful
  • Cyclists should dismount and walk quickly through bird-swooping areas



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