A boy screaming in terror as a magpie pursues him at Lake Illawarra near Wollongong, NSW, has become the face of Australia's springtime.
Wayne Sherwood's footage of his son Max is going viral after he posted it to Instagram on Monday, telling followers, "Australia is beautiful but our native birds are killers. Theyll eat your kids alive. Beware hahaha ."
The footage shows young Max appraching on his scooter, ducking low and desperately pushing off as a bird comes at him from behind.
Sherwood, who is heard laughing from behind the camera, explained in later posts that the video was something of a character-buiding exercise.
"He [Max] wouldnt come past after he saw [the magpie] hit me. He turned back. Then Im down the road getting my phone out yelling ... 'its all good Max hes gone'."
In a later post, Sherwood shows himself and a now-laughing Max getting swooped together, explaining he was "conquering my kid's demons".
Springtime is nesting season for magpies and the male birds often swoop to protect nearby nesting females and babies.
Patrick Medway, secretary of the Australian Wildlife Society, said the best way to stay protected from a magpie was to carry an umbrella.
"Don't hurt them; learn to live with them. It [swooping season] is only for a short period," he said. "It will only last for 10 days, two weeks max, because by then the young have hatched and it's not a problem."
"The beautiful call of the magpie is distinctively Australian."
"Their swooping is always exaggerated. In many cases it's just to give people a fright. If a dog rushes at you they only have to growl and you jump back, startled. It's the same with a bird. They won't hit you nine times out of ten."
Breeding magpies tend to return to the same nesting tree year-on-year, so that certain spots become known, repeat swooping zones..