Melbourne, Australia: Beware of the Magpies

Tegen Thon is a student at Southwest Minnesota State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Melbourne, Australia.

Magpie: a black and white bird that looks a bit like a crow. In Melbourne, these birds are notorious for swooping on people, causing not only fear, but also sometimes scratches.

When I arrived here in Melbourne, I was on the plane and saw what looked like a skunk (due to the black and white color) in the field next to the tarmac. I asked the lady sitting next to me if what it was and she said a magpie and to be careful. I was really confused as to why I would have to be careful around a bird; I am bigger–what is there to be afraid of?

swooping birds

She proceeded to tell me that around October, these birds tend to start what is called ‘swooping.’ This is when I started to laugh. This lady was not kidding; these birds become very territorial around their nests and will swoop around to protect it. People can never be sure as to where these birds have made their nests, which can lead for quite a surprise when swooped upon by a bird. People around Melbourne are encouraged to wear a hat, so that if a magpie does decide to swoop,it is more likely to get your hat and not latch onto your hair.

Magpies 1

This goes to show you just how serious this problem is, and how crazy these birds are. I personally have never had an issue, but several of my friends have. I am not writing this to scare you, but just to let you in on the life of a person in Melbourne. It is completely possible to go through your time abroad and never have a run in with these birds, which is what I am hoping for!

The world awaits…discover it.