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Yes it’s Magpie Season!

By 29 September 2010 60

magpie protection [photo by owen]

No, this is not a post about Collingwood (although hopefully they will get beaten this weekend!) but the other feathered variety of magpie, currently in battle season.

Now I get the whole “protecting the nest” thing, I really do.  Having been attacked on my bike several times over the past week, I was wondering if there are some helpful suggestions out there as to how to combat the problem. 

Do those plastic ties sticking out from the helmet actually work? 

Oh and I have tried getting off my bike and walking through the killing fields but this doesn’t seem to work.

[ED - I've been swooped more this year than any other, how about the rest of you?]

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60 Responses to Yes it’s Magpie Season!
#1
caf2:25 pm, 29 Sep 10

It’s an old ‘un but a good ‘un: some enterprising local CSIRO employees tested various ideas, with an interesting result: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wHreVKgOT4

#2
Holditz2:26 pm, 29 Sep 10

Previous discussion about Magpie season

http://the-riotact.com/?p=27618

#3
KB19712:27 pm, 29 Sep 10

Have a look at youtube, some ANU students did a study a couple of years ago & it seems that the best prevention method is no helmet………..

There is a link to it on The Berm.

#4
KB19712:28 pm, 29 Sep 10

Thats the one caf :)

#5
Chop712:40 pm, 29 Sep 10

I hate the bird and the football team…. I hope they choke again this weekend and nothing stops a swooping magpie like a tennis racket.

#6
astrojax2:59 pm, 29 Sep 10

i love the bird, its song is among my favourite of all sounds. the team can hopefully lose by a point! (i doubt it will though, possibly take it in a canter…)

i trust you’re joking about the racquet..? be nice to maggies, what.

#7
preacher3:07 pm, 29 Sep 10

Hey Chop,

I hope you’re a kid. Because if I ever see an adult hurting an animal, I’m likely to turn into the Hulk and go smash.
Or at least whip out my video camera, and film you doing it.

Also, it’s a federal offence, just in case you weren’t aware.

#8
luther_bendross3:12 pm, 29 Sep 10

I watched a dude on a bike getting smashed by a magpie last Thursday. I lol’d. Then as I got closer, I rofl’d as I saw he was also wearing those massive cable tie thingy’s. They don’t repel magpies, however they do seem to be mutually exclusive to common sense.

#9
niftydog3:14 pm, 29 Sep 10

I copped an early half-beaked attempt out at Stromlo in August, but haven’t had a problem since. The infamous CSIRO maggie has either moved or has become jaded by his celebrity status – have only seen him swoop once so far. There’s even a nest in my front yard, but they don’t seem to bother any people.

I don’t get the cable ties at all. It doesn’t seem to discourage swooping at all as far as I can tell. Unless you’re in the midst of a completely bonkers kamikaze magpie, the best solution is to spot them before they see you and keep an eye on them – they normally won’t swoop while you’re watching them.

#10
imarty3:20 pm, 29 Sep 10

There’s two locations near my joint where last year there was one, maybe the son from last year’s brood?
These ones will still go you when you’re watching them and they’ll come in low from the front also.

#11
troll-sniffer3:40 pm, 29 Sep 10

Definitely a worse season than the last few years, I’ve been swooped multiple times in places normally safe, even by my normally placid local across the street. Scored a cut temple in Fyshwick on the weekend, first time ever, and that was after getting off the bike and walking, no helmet either. My local one bounced off my temple today, luckily it didn’t use its beak as well.

I’ve taken to picking up a stick and swinging it around my head when I’m in the territory of a swooper that I’ve come across, that keeps them at bay, even without looking at them. Damn nuisance though, riding one-handed while swinging the stick around above the head. Better than copping a hit though.

#12
johnboy3:43 pm, 29 Sep 10

Bike polo to the rescue!

#13
blueberry3:51 pm, 29 Sep 10

I think the point of the zip ties is not to stop them swooping you but so that when they do they swoop the top of the zip ties which are a good 10cm above your head rather than your helmet which is closer to things like your face, seems to make sense to me.

#14
Chop713:56 pm, 29 Sep 10

preacher said :

Hey Chop,

I hope you’re a kid. Because if I ever see an adult hurting an animal, I’m likely to turn into the Hulk and go smash.
Or at least whip out my video camera, and film you doing it.

Also, it’s a federal offence, just in case you weren’t aware.

ahh preacher ….. cos being a kid would make it A’OK

can I have my hook back?

#15
Thoroughly Smashed4:18 pm, 29 Sep 10

I like magpies

#16
preacher4:37 pm, 29 Sep 10

Chop71 said :

preacher said :

Hey Chop,

I hope you’re a kid. Because if I ever see an adult hurting an animal, I’m likely to turn into the Hulk and go smash.
Or at least whip out my video camera, and film you doing it.

Also, it’s a federal offence, just in case you weren’t aware.

ahh preacher ….. cos being a kid would make it A’OK

Not ok, but
a) that’s the sort of (immature) things kids do. Adults should know better.
b) Kids are scary these days. Kicks to the head weren’t part of fighting back when I was a kid.

And no, you can’t have your hook back….I’m using it.

#17
bubzie4:39 pm, 29 Sep 10

The magpie down the road only just realized that it’s swooping season today. Bah!

#18
matt312214:46 pm, 29 Sep 10

preacher said :

Hey Chop,

I hope you’re a kid. Because if I ever see an adult hurting an animal, I’m likely to turn into the Hulk and go smash.
Or at least whip out my video camera, and film you doing it.

Also, it’s a federal offence, just in case you weren’t aware.

If one of those crazy mongrels pecks out your eye, it could be fatal. Isn’t it within the law to defend yourself? If you belted it out of the sky after it started attacking you, you’d be in the right, right?

#19
PBO4:51 pm, 29 Sep 10

I saw someone knock one out of the air with a stick and shove in their backpack down at Page oval yesterday, are they good eating?

#20
Tooks5:04 pm, 29 Sep 10

matt31221 said :

preacher said :

Hey Chop,

I hope you’re a kid. Because if I ever see an adult hurting an animal, I’m likely to turn into the Hulk and go smash.
Or at least whip out my video camera, and film you doing it.

Also, it’s a federal offence, just in case you weren’t aware.

If one of those crazy mongrels pecks out your eye, it could be fatal. Isn’t it within the law to defend yourself? If you belted it out of the sky after it started attacking you, you’d be in the right, right?

Yep there’s a long history of fatal magpie attacks in Australia.

I understand there are some extremely aggressive magpies around (one opened me up behind my ear once and I believe a kid in Kambah lost an eye), but they are fairly rare. If you’re on a bike, just put your head down and quickly ride through their territory. No need to look like a wanker with ridiculous things poking out of your head.

#21
Funky Claude5:12 pm, 29 Sep 10

I do get a laugh out of the magpies swooping. It reminds me of the crop duster in Alfred Hitchcocks North by Northwest when it swoops Cary Grant(?) in the corn field.

And besides, I like the magpies are swooping the bike riders on the road, it saves me doing it in my car.

#22
Marvin_785:20 pm, 29 Sep 10

One of my mates had one go in for the kill and it ended up wedged in their helmet.

Poor maggie lucked out and didn’t make it…

Kind of funny and sad, at the same time.

#23
Helen5:27 pm, 29 Sep 10

Our local Maggies have started swooping again – but all of their attention is focused on the dog.

He thinks it’s great fun, having these weird feathery things dive bomb him while making loud noises. He pretends to try and catch them before realising that I’ve left him behind – and that can’t happen, he must be in front!

#24
Ryan5:52 pm, 29 Sep 10

I encountered one near the skate park at Greenway the weekend before last. Took a swoop at me whilst I was riding, so I got off and walked. Took another shot, and ignored several other people who rode straight past me.

Picky bastard.

#25
30january16497:07 pm, 29 Sep 10

Love the bird – sh*t scared of being scared off my bike!

#26
facet7:49 pm, 29 Sep 10

I pay a regular fakelaki payment (bribe of mince meat) to our local breeding pair, have had no problems so far. They often fly down and chortle me a song – a nice couple really, glad to have them as neighbours.

#27
Punter8:10 pm, 29 Sep 10

What is it with the cable ties? Underneath them is a……..helmet, which is designed to protect the bicycle riders head during a reasonably heavy impact with anything hard upon falling from said bicycle, much less an attack by the beak of a cranky bird. Do they actually work, or is this some social experiment to make the lycra clad brigade to look more ridiculous? Marvin_78 #22, how did your mates head survice in that encounter?

#28
Deckard8:54 pm, 29 Sep 10

I’d rather have my eyes pecked out than ride around with those things in my helmet. Look at the guy on the right in that photo. Stylin’

#29
affordable9:14 pm, 29 Sep 10

why the zip ties, what is the purpose of the helmet

#30
cleo10:03 pm, 29 Sep 10

I’ve never been swooped by a magpie!

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