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Anti-Magpie Swooping Devices

By 28 September 2008 90

I’ve seen many bike riders using cable ties on their bike helmet as a deterrent to swooping magpies of late and wish to seek opinions as to their effectiveness.

I was swooped 3 times yesterday just walking near my place where we feed the buggers but haven’t been swooped on the bike this year. As my 2 yo and I enjoy our Saturday arvo rides I don’t feel safe continuing our weekend bike rides with the chance of magpies swooping us.

Do the cable ties work?

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90 Responses to
Anti-Magpie Swooping Devices
blub 10:11 pm
28 Sep 08
#1

Haven’t used cable ties myself, but I always thought they were used to inflict pain on the swooping bird, if they did go for your head, hence why they’d not try again.

GottaLoveCanberra 10:23 pm
28 Sep 08
#2

I’d gather that they’re not for pain but to extend the point of contact. A lot of Magpies won’t actually make contact, they’ll just get close enough and snap their beaks.

b2 10:23 pm
28 Sep 08
#3

they don’t work. they still swoop you, just they hit the ties instead of your head.
It’s still damn scary when they are coming at you and you know their only intention is to try and take you out!

Davo111 10:48 pm
28 Sep 08
#4

I’ve never been swooped (touch wood), maybe it’s the colour of my helmet? (its blue with white streams along it) or the bright orange backpack i have?

ant 10:57 pm
28 Sep 08
#5

They always go on about Magpie swooping being a Canberra thing, but I was in Wagga last week and there was a bloke treadling along earnestly with his helmet festooned with long tube-things.

My favourite Magnet Mart ad was the one where the Magnet Mart guy encourages a Spy to brave the field where the magpie swoops to spy on the opposition. He gets a stick to hold up to ward off the magpie. Brilliant ad.

Granny 11:29 pm
28 Sep 08
#6

My brother in law used to go riding with a tennis racquet!

squashee 11:30 pm
28 Sep 08
#7

I find a shot-gun is a great deterrant… Unless of course you shoot one, in which case all his friends come back to bid him farewell…

Davo111 1:43 am
29 Sep 08
#8

I just found a government website that said putting ‘Big Brother eyes’ stickers on you helmet scares them away

shiny flu 2:05 am
29 Sep 08
#9

A while ago when working in a bike shop we would actually get people coming in asking for the ‘anti magpie special devices’.

As mentioned, they don’t stop or deter an attack, however if you use long zip-ties – when the magpie comes swooping down it’ll snap/stop at the end of the zip-tie and not your ear. You can also use the fluffy pipe-cleaners found in a Kindagarten classroom near you. Some people use red electrical tape around the ends (like a little flag) to present a target away from their head for the magpies.

Be warned though, using zip-ties can damage the foam of the helmet. It’s mostly a cosmetic thing, but again depends on your vanity. Personally, my helmets are rather pricey and I’m extraordinarily vain, so no zip-ties. Easiest solution for me is to ride fast. My helmet is silver for what it’s worth.

blood_nut 6:10 am
29 Sep 08
#10

ditto – i’d rather run the risk of taking a hit from a magpie than look like an idiot.

I’ve been in Canberra for over three decades and not once has a magpie hit me. maybe that’s enough evidence not to bother about it and run your luck.

johnboy 7:55 am
29 Sep 08
#11

blood_nut said :

ditto – i’d rather run the risk of taking a hit from a magpie than look like an idiot.

I’ve been in Canberra for over three decades and not once has a magpie hit me. maybe that’s enough evidence not to bother about it and run your luck.

They must be terrified of your masculinity overdrive…

Thumper 8:17 am
29 Sep 08
#12

Surely a helmet is a deterrent?

Magpie swoops, whacks helmet, rider is fine, magpie retreats with pride slightly dented…

I do think it’s funny watching bike riders trundle around with echidnas on their heads ;)

tylersmayhem 8:19 am
29 Sep 08
#13

I agree with blood_nut – I’d rather take the hits I get from a magpie than look like a tool. That said, if there were lots of particularly aggressive magpies swooping me on the parts of my commute where there is no bike lane, I’d probably look into options rather than end up in front of a car.

I remember when I was in primary school, lots of kids had big black eyes texta’d on the back of their Stack Hats. Apparently this worked. Perhaps you could try and see if you could tape some big eyes on the top of the helmet, which might not look as ridiculous as cable ties?!

New Yeah 8:40 am
29 Sep 08
#14

There can’t be too long left in this year’s magpie season so by next weekend I’m sure you and your son will be safe. I’m sure you’ve missed the worst of it so save yourself the ignominy of sticking cable ties and texta eyes to your helmet.

I’ve never bothered with cable ties and texta eyes never seemed to work. That always seemed to be more about customising the ol’ Stack Hat or yellow Guardian to make it look more gnarly.

Whatsup 8:46 am
29 Sep 08
#15

Thumper said :

Surely a helmet is a deterrent?

Magpie swoops, whacks helmet, rider is fine, magpie retreats with pride slightly dented…

You would think a helmet would be enough, as I once did. I was riding through a local park and heard the familiar sounds of swooping wings approach. I thought ‘I’ll be fine, they will hit my helmet’ and the maggie did, over and over again. It obviously got cranky that I wasn’t yeilding to his attack and he swooped down and went for my eyes, his beak deflected of my sunglasses and opened up a cut on my face. After years of bike riding and the occasional Maggie encounter I had never seen one this agro.

If the cable tie echindas or eyes drawn on the back of you helmet work… go for it.

Thumper 8:50 am
29 Sep 08
#16

Surely the government should legislate that, in magpie swooping season, all bike riders should wear full face motorcycle helmets.

You know it makes sense ;)

Whatsup 9:18 am
29 Sep 08
#17

Thumper said :

Surely the government should legislate that, in magpie swooping season, all bike riders should wear full face motorcycle helmets.

You know it makes sense ;)

I did consider returning to the park with a motorcycle helmet and a squash racket to equal the score.

Growling Ferret 9:24 am
29 Sep 08
#18

Maybe the magpie feels sorry for you already as you are a ginga?

Granny 9:29 am
29 Sep 08
#19

Whatsup said :

I did consider returning to the park with a motorcycle helmet and a squash racket to equal the score.

Bird Warrior

LOL

Spitfire3 9:29 am
29 Sep 08
#20

“They always go on about Magpie swooping being a Canberra thing, but I was in Wagga last week and…”

Really? I’ve never heard this before. It doesn’t surprise me though, the things people say are particular to canberra. Apparently nowhere else in Australia has roundabouts either…

peterh 9:55 am
29 Sep 08
#21

I don’t get swooped in my street – I feed the magpies pet mince. been doing it for years, and they leave me alone.

rosebud 9:59 am
29 Sep 08
#22

Whatsup said :

Thumper said :

Surely a helmet is a deterrent?

Magpie swoops, whacks helmet, rider is fine, magpie retreats with pride slightly dented…

You would think a helmet would be enough, as I once did. I was riding through a local park and heard the familiar sounds of swooping wings approach. I thought ‘I’ll be fine, they will hit my helmet’ and the maggie did, over and over again. It obviously got cranky that I wasn’t yeilding to his attack and he swooped down and went for my eyes, his beak deflected of my sunglasses and opened up a cut on my face. After years of bike riding and the occasional Maggie encounter I had never seen one this agro.

If the cable tie echindas or eyes drawn on the back of you helmet work… go for it.

A kamikaze magpie threw his whole body into my face as I was riding – no less than three times in a row. He avoided the helmet by going side on and eventually broke my skin just below my eye.

Danman 10:04 am
29 Sep 08
#23

Prick of a magpie was swooping me while I was waiting at a crossing for traffic on the way to work today….

Sure as hell made me fly up th ehill after the crossing though….Damn bird.

We need devices like those ultrasonic dog trainers that will harmlessly drop them from the air in shock.

Growling Ferret 10:09 am
29 Sep 08
#24

Magpies are nothing compare to the plovers in Gungahlin. They are angry bloody birds!

Thumper 10:15 am
29 Sep 08
#25

I was attacked by an emu once.

It kicked me in the head causing a large cut. Scary stuff.

That was one seriously angry bird.

peterh 10:17 am
29 Sep 08
#26

Growling Ferret said :

Magpies are nothing compare to the plovers in Gungahlin. They are angry bloody birds!

and being called spur wing plovers don’t make you feel much better….

tylersmayhem 10:17 am
29 Sep 08
#27

I’ve read a couple of accounts of kamakazie magpies from Rosebud and Whatsup – where did these attacks happen as a matter of interest?

I remember when I was about 16 and living in Farrer. There was always a ruthless magpie that lived right next to the school. One day I was crossing the oval and I saw a little dude hooning down the road on his bmx. I thought “here we go, the kids obviously new to the area”. I saw the magpie line him up and take him head on and knock the boy off his bike. By the time I had ran about 50 meters over to him, he was pinned under the bike with the bird pirched the cross-bar pecking at his helmet. Lucky I had a stick.

They eventually put “magpie warning” signs up near the school. I wonder what ever happened to that bird?

AG Canberra 10:18 am
29 Sep 08
#28

Yep PeterH – feeding is the answer.

We had a pair in a gum tree outside our house for many years. We feed them regularly on mince etc and no-one ever go swooped in spring time….

Problem was that at one point we were obviously known as the magpie form of Mcdonalds – and had about a dozen birds turning up for a feed!

tylersmayhem 10:40 am
29 Sep 08
#29

Yep PeterH – feeding is the answer.

We had a pair in a gum tree outside our house for many years. We feed them regularly on mince etc and no-one ever go swooped in spring time….

I used to be a believer in this theory, and always wondered if this is in fact true, then how do the magpies 10 km away know not to swoop you? Understandably they wouldn’t swoop you near your home, but so far away…I’m intrigued!

The Brad 10:45 am
29 Sep 08
#30

I did consider returning to the park with a motorcycle helmet and a squash racket to equal the score.

I realise that was an attempt at humour, but…….
Anyone who hurts a magpie with a weapon e.g. tennis or squash racket, deserves to go to court alongside ferret torturers IMHO.

And yes, I’ve been swooped, and it’s scary. But these animals are quite gentle for 9 months of the year. Broken wings are permanent….and illegal.

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