IT’S springtime. Along with all the sunshine, flowers and new life that comes with the change of the season, we’d like to remind community members to be cautious around protective birds, who will swoop anyone they think is a danger to their nests and offspring.
Native birds can swoop in parks, gardens, along bike tracks, in school yards – anywhere birds are nesting.
Kingston Mayor Cr Steve Staikos said that the best ways to avoid being swooped, are to plan ahead before heading out and to identify well-known local swoop sites. “Over this nesting season we urge community members to demonstrate some caution and either avoid swooping hot-spots or move through areas quickly,” said Cr Staikos.
“The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have an interactive map which community members can add swoop-sites to and find out tips to reduce the risk of being swooped by protective birds.”
In the City of Kingston, Bicentennial Park has been recognised as a hot-spot for swooping butcherbirds, protecting their nests. These are native Australian birds which are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is illegal to kill birds or to interfere with nests containing eggs or young without a permit or authority.
“Council’s Biodiversity Strategy seeks to protect native animals and enhance biodiversity, so being mindful of where they are and how to avoid them helps to prevent any unnecessary incidents,” said Cr Staikos.
Longbeach Ward Councillor Georgina Oxley said that we need to be respectful of the nesting birds for the next few weeks.
“Magpies, Plovers and Butcherbirds, in particular, are highly territorial,” said Cr Oxley. “We urge the public to not interfere with the birds or to destroy nests. Native birds are protected wildlife and trying to remove their nests can lead birds to rebuild their nests, prolonging the swooping behaviour.”
When relocated, birds are excluded from foraging areas; attacked and forced to roost on low branches or the ground, leaving them vulnerable to predation. It can also increase swooping behaviour in the next nesting season.
To reduce the risk of swooping incidents, the City of Kingston has installed signage to alert community members that there are swooping risks in the area.
Community members are encouraged to advise council of any incidents/attacks and to add any swooping sites onto the DELWP map at: wildlife.vic.gov.au/managing-wildlife/swooping-birds. Council will respond to reports with the installation of warning signs at any un-signed areas. And may install temporary fencing, as required.