Watch out – Magpie’s about! Preventing eye injuries from magpies:

There has been a recent spate of magpie swooping attacks in Sydney. Magpie swooping season is between July-November when the eggs and chicks are in the nest. The swooping is a protective mechanism performed by the male magpies.

Of particular concern is the rise in eye injuries from  magpie attacks in Sydney and the central coast this spring. Sydney ophthalmologists have seen a number of young children and babies present with serious eye injuries due to magpie attacks in the last week alone in Sydney.

“The single best way to prevent an eye injury from a magpie attack is to ensure you and your children wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. If you have a young child or baby, walk with them in a pram, and use a pram that has a good extendable sun-canopy to prevent magpies swooping on them.” Says Dr Frank Martin.

Here are some tips on how to avoid a magpie attack, and how to protect your eyes from magpies:

– If you know there is a magpie nest in a certain area, stay away from that area. Magpie’s usually only defend the nest for the 6-8 weeks that the eggs and chicks are there.

– Wear a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes, and your children’s eyes too. Walking underneath an umbrella can also help prevent a swooping attack.

– If your children don’t like wearing a hat and sunglasses, talk to them about the importance of wearing them to preventing a magpie swooping on them.

– Walk with young children in a pram with a good sun canopy to cover the child

– If you live near an area with a particularly aggressive bird, try painting or sticking a large pair of eyes on the back or front of your hat. Magpies are less likely to swoop if they are watched constantly

– Walk in groups where you can

– Move quickly through the area, but do not run

– Use signs to warn others on the location of nests and swooping magpies

– Do not go to the rescue of a young magpie – it will most likely be being watched closely by a parent.

– Do not act aggressively towards Magpies as this will make them more territorial

If you suspect your child has an eye injury from a magpie, seek urgent medical advice.