In bad news for literally everyone, magpie-swooping season may be particularly awful this year on account of us all (hopefully) wearing face masks.

A birdlife expert has highlighted the quagmire that we will all be faced with. The lack of facial-recognition brought on by wearing a mask may lead to an increase in aggro behaviour from the satanic avian villains.

“There is a chance, because what we do know is magpies can recognise individual people,” Birdlife Australia’s Sean Dooley explained to The Guardian.

“If you think a magpie has it in for you, you’re probably right.

“Research has shown magpies can recognise up to at least 100 different people and we think the main factor is facial recognition.

“They tend to swoop the people they see as a threat.”

This is truly chaotic news, especially for those in Victoria where face masks are mandatory.

“What we’re really fascinated with is whether, especially in Melbourne in lockdown … is if you’re wearing a mask, they may not be able to recognise you,” Dooley shared.

It is so harrowing knowing that these awful, treacherous creatures have enough agency to curate their own kill list of enemies. Up until this very moment I genuinely believed magpie attacks were completely random. I didn’t realise I’ve spent my entire life as the piping crow-shrike’s number 1 undesirable.

It is also so completely unfair that whilst some of us are subject to their taunts, other people will live their life free of bird trauma.

Swooping season peaks between September and October, so if the global pandemic wasn’t enough of an invitation to stay the fuck inside, this should be the final nail in the coffin.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has offered up a healthy guide to surviving the wild and tumultuous days of Magpie Swooping Season.

Choice nuggets of advice are as followed:

“Be cautious when you see them in a group. Solo magpies sing a quiet, warbling song (it can also mimic more than 35 other birds, plus dogs, horses and even humans).  But in groups magpies can rile each other up, so their call gets loud and shrill. This is when they’re known to be the most territorial, so stay away.”

“Carry an open umbrella, a big stick or a golf club above your head. But don’t go all Shaun of the Dead, now. They’re just birds, and this isn’t the zombie apocalypse. This method is to keep them at bay, not to provoke an attack. Just remember – magpies are protected so don’t hit or hurt one!”

“If a magpie swoops, walk quickly and carefully away. Weirdly, magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them, so you actually have to lock eyes with them and hold the stare-down until you’re out of sight. If they start acting hostile, try to stay calm. Arm-waving or other erratic behaviour will come off as an attack, and the magpie might get more aggressive.”

Stay safe out there homies.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine