Macquarie Dictionary


Swooping season

Here at Macquarie Dictionary, especially during this windy and rainy week, we are missing the warmer weather. However, we also know what awaits us at the end of winter. Swooping season.

Swooping season is magpie breeding season, during which parent birds tend to attack people or animals in the vicinity of their nests, perceived as threats to their chicks. Breeding season usually occurs between August to October and is a rite of passage all Aussies experience at some stage of their life. 

There are many ways to try to avoid being swooped. These include:

  • Wearing an ice cream container on your head

  • Using an umbrella

  • Avoiding eye contact

  • Don’t act aggressively

  • Wear sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat

  • Travel in groups

The good news is that maggies usually swoop for only six weeks. The bad news is that they return to the same spot, and they have excellent recall for faces so if you’ve been swooped once, that magpie will likely remember you the following year. 

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.


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