MAGPIE breeding season is bearing down on us.

Already this month ambulance officers have had to treat a 12-year-old Sydney boy who suffered cuts to his head after being swooped by a magpie.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Brian Parsell said injuries caused by swooping birds could range from cuts to the head and pecks to the ears, to more serious outcomes.

"Every year, NSW Ambulance receives calls for people suffering injuries from swooping birds and it can be very upsetting, especially for children. Even the experience of a magpie attack swooping can be quite alarming," Insp Parsell said.

He said cyclists could lose balance and fall, resulting in a range of injuries, from open wounds to broken bones.

Insp Parsell said that if people suffered bleeding from an open wound, they should apply pressure to the area and ensure it is kept clean.

Tips for avoiding magpie swoops:

Walk quickly and carefully away from the area. If possible, make a temporary sign to warn other people.

Try to keep an eye on the magpie while walking away. Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them. Alternatively, draw or sew a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat and wear it when walking through the area. You can also try wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head.

Wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet. Any sort of hat, even a hat made from an ice cream container or cardboard box, will help protect you.

Carry an open umbrella, or a stick or small branch, above your head but do not swing it at the magpie, as this will only provoke it to attack.

If riding a bicycle, dismount and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head. You can also attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.

Magpies are protected throughout New South Wales and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young.

If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, call your local council or the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300 072 757.

Have you been swooped by a magpie? Tell us where errant birds are so we can alert others.

Email the location to

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