START painting eyes on the back of ice cream containers and attaching cable ties to your helmets - whatever your favoured choice of head protection is - it's magpie swooping season.

As we celebrate the start of spring it's time to keep your eyes peeled for those plucky parents as they frantically try to protect their young.

Local cyclists, who often find themselves on the 'front line' so to speak, are reporting the season has started early this year.

This is backed up by the Australian Bird Study Association who tweeted on July 28: 'Public service announcement - Magpie swooping season has started!'.

Usually male magpies swoop only during mating season in spring due to a huge increase in testosterone where they basically become over protective dads.

The mating season can vary from state to state but generally is between late August to late October, with the occasional borderline case but this year things seem to have kicked off in early July.

Let us know where the magpies are swooping in your area and we will plot the sites on a map. Email janine.watson@coffscoastadvocate.com.au

The following tips might help you get through the rest of swooping season without injury:

* Avoid magpie hot spots

* Protect your eyes and head by wearing sunglasses and a hat

* If a magpie is swooping you stay calm and move quickly but don't run, if you panic then you might provoke further attack.

* If possible, bike riders should dismount and walk.



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