It’s time to take cover as spring signals the start of magpies swooping.
Macarthur residents should keep an eye on the skies as the warmer weather annually leads to more magpie attacks.
Website Magpie Alert states there have been more than 700 magpie swooping incidents reported this year, including seven in Macarthur.
Harrington Park is home to four reported incidents while attacks have also occurred in Claymore, Woodbine and Mount Annan.
WIRES aviation coordinator Deborah Martin recommended people – especially cyclists - remain vigilant around magpies but they shouldn’t fear the black and white birds.
Ms Martin said spring signaled magpie breeding season.
“The magpies swoop to protect their babies and nests so they’re just being good parents,” she said.
“I recommend people don’t get too close to trees and avoid magpie nests during spring.
“Present yourself as being nice and non-threatening or you can even bribe them with some food.”
Ms Martin, who has eight years of wildlife rescue experience, said magpies were likely to swoop towards a person’s face or head.
“They seem to go for the head but a lot of time they are just scaring you off,” she said.
“Cyclists who are moving at speed can look predatory to magpies so they are less likely to attack if people jump off their bikes and walk past instead.
“Magpies are really smart and can distinguish between people being friendly or enemies.”
Ms Martin said the iconic Australian bird was often “misunderstood” by the general public.
“They can be quite affectionate and only swoop because it’s what comes natural to them,” she said.
MagpieAlert.com allows people to log on and record where they have experienced a swooping, details about the attack and any injuries suffered.
People can then check the website, find out where attacks have happened and avoid the area.