The magpies are gathering in our street, and swooping season approaches. Help!

I used to look forward to spring. Who wouldn't? It's a beautiful time of year. But for the last 10 years or so, I have somehow ended up on the magpie hit list. Now every year I dread the coming of spring and the accompanying magpie nesting season.

Just in case I have some international readers, I should note that I am talking about the Australian Magpie. This is a particularly fearsome bird, quite large and with a pointy, pointy beak.

Last year, I was swooped in early July. I had never been swooped so early in the year before. And considering that swooping season lasts until about November, I have 5 months of daily fear to look forward to.

You see, I live in an area which is well populated by magpies. There is a family of three living on our street, usually stalking menacingly on the lawns of houses only 20 metres away. Considering that magpies will generally swoop pedestrians within 50 metres of their nest, I am in deep trouble! Even once I get out of my own street safely, there is another magpie population living in and around the large park that lies between my house and the train station (and gym). There is no escape!

Magpie Swoop, Burra 

Last year, in desperation, I took to carrying an open umbrella with me each morning. I feel like an absolute twit, but at least a fairly safe one. This year I'll do the same, but with a more effective umbrella. I've just ordered this gorgeous birdcage umbrella. It is clear, so that I can see where I'm going, but with a pattern, in order to confuse the birds (fingers crossed!).

Wish me luck.

P.S. Some good news - although magpies are distributed across most of Australia, they are not commonly found in Darwin. And if anyone can prove differently, I don't want to know about it!!

P.P.S. I am also swooped on a fairly regular basis by Indian Mynahs. These birds are slightly smaller than magpies, and therefore slightly less scary. But they are fast and quiet, and usually the first I know about an attack is when I feel their claws brush through my hair. Happily, they have never taken a chunk out of me yet.

Photo credits to mustang00069 and chateauglenunga.