IT'S time to get out the space helmets and brollies - magpies are starting to swoop as they protect their chicks.
Wildlife officer Ashley Bunce said yesterday a few simple actions could help Gympie region residents avoid or minimise the chances of injury from a magpie.
"The magpie breeding season lasts from July until December, peaking from August to October," Dr Bunce said.
"During the breeding season, it's best to stay well clear of areas where magpies are known to be swooping, and particularly avoid the nesting tree.
"Cyclists have found it helpful to attach large cable ties to the back of their helmet to give a 'space helmet' look.
Use two plastic cable ties of any colour, sticking up like antennae.
"Mums and dads should make sure their children are magpie-smart when going out doors," he said.
Dr Bunce said it was important to remember that not all magpies swooped, and they only did so while chicks were
in the nest, to drive away potential threats.
"Most swooping is by the male magpie and almost entirely in the magpie 'defence zone' - the area around the nest tree," he said.
"The defence zone is usually only about 100 metres in radius."
Licensed contractors will sometimes remove magpies. Phone 1300 130 372 for details.
Do you know of magpie swooping hot-spots? The Gympie Times wants to create a map of these zones. Leave a comment below or email Shelley Strachan.