Swooping Birds

General Information

Our backyard lawns, parks, school grounds and paddocks may have been designed for people but they have also created habitat for birds, such as magpies and plovers, which like to live in grassy, lightly treed areas.

Sometimes birds take up territories that include nesting and roosting trees and grassy feeding areas. Swooping birds, such as magpies and plovers, can cause concern and pose safety risks.

Birds do not swoop all the time - often just at certain times of the year, usually as a defence around their nests and young.

What you can do

In most instances, the best course of action is to avoid the area if possible during the period when the birds are defensive. This often lasts for a period of approximately 6 weeks during nesting season.

If you have to enter into the defensive zone, you should protect yourself by wearing a hat and sunglasses or using an umbrella.

Where swooping birds pose a risk to human health and wellbeing, an appropriately qualified bird removalist and relocation contractor can be engaged to assess and remove the animal. Bird removalists and relocation contractors can be found using online searches or the yellow pages, andthere is a cost for using these services.

If the swooping bird is on private land, it will be up to the landholder or occupier to engage a contractor for the removal and relocation activities.

What Council can do 

If you have a concern in relation to swooping birds on Council-managed land, please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on 4932 9000 or 1300 22 55 77.

Council may erect signage on Council’s parks and footpaths where swooping birds are active.  This is designed to warn the public of the presence of a swooping bird in the area. All actions taken will be at Councils discretion.

What the State Government can do

The Department of Environment and Science can issue a permit for the removal and relocation of wildlife, this is called a Damage Mitigation Permit. Authorised contractors must carry a valid permit to undertake wildlife removal and relocation activities.

The Department will investigate complaints and take enquiries in relation to licensing, on 1300 130 372.