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Swooping birds

Territorial birds protecting their young are a part of life in the Northern Territory. There are some things that you can do to manage the behaviour and reduce conflict with birds.

Diverse birdlife makes up Darwin's unique character. From the distinct rustling of the orange footed scrub fowl (or "bush chook") to the tiny migratory waders who pop in for a rest after flying in from the Arctic, all are a fascinating part of life in the Top End.

Our feathered wildlife does not come without a major shortcoming - the territorial behaviour of three well known culprits: the plover, the kite and the peewee.

What can I do if there's a swooping bird in my area?

Avoid the area if you can. If this is not a possibility, there are other ways that you can reduce the likelihood of being swooped.

  • wear a hat
  • wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • if you have identified the bird as a peewee (magpie-lark), wear a hat or take an umbrella with eyes drawn on it as peewees are unlikely to swoop if they feel they are being watched
  • wave a stick or flag above your head
  • put up warning signs for others who may not be aware that there are swooping birds in the area
  • travel in groups, some birds - such as plovers - tend to swoop individuals
  • do not run, as this will encourage the bird to continue swooping.

If you are riding a bicycle:

  • place a flag on it
  • get off the bicycle and walk through the area.

For more information, visit the Northern Territory Government website.

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