As the swooping season begins earlier, Victorians are being warned by bird experts that magpies could become more dangerous while we are required to wear face masks in public.

Magpies are able to recognise up to 100 different people but when masks are added to the mix, those individuals who were originally thought to be friendly could now be seen as threats.

“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,” Birdlife Australia’s Sean Dooley said.

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

Research in Queensland has also revealed that magpies are also known to swoop people who are wearing masks as they are reminders of bad experiences.