11 August 2023

Probing the polls: V8 supercars and the return of the killer magpies - or is it?

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Territorial magpies will soon descend on pedestrians and cyclists, as mating season begins. Photo: File.

The heyday of Canberra motorsports may well be over after Chief Minister Andrew Barr declined to revive V8 motor racing in the nation’s capital on the grounds of costs to the local economy without sufficient benefit, but the results of our weekly poll were much closer.

We asked: Would you welcome the return of V8 racing to Canberra?

HiddenDragon wrote: “If only the ACT government brought the same (apparent) sober prudence and practicality to bear in all its activities, not just in relation to things which don’t personally appeal and/or provide the right sorts of virtue signalling and photo opportunities.”

GrumpyGrandpa said: “Fair call Chief Minister. We should approve major projects based on their business case. It is after all tax payer’s money being spent.”

920 readers voted and the results were close.

Your choices to vote were No, isn’t putting up with Summernats enough? This received 48 per cent of the total or 446 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, bring it on! Love roaring engines and racetrack drama. This option was the winner by a slender margin, polling 52 per cent of the total, or 474 votes.

This week, as the weather begins to warm and spring is a whisper on the horizon, we’re wondering whether you’ve been swooped by a magpie yet.

Reports are already emerging of murderous magpies, bent on creating mayhem among Canberra’s defenceless cyclists (or broody birds protecting their natural interests from weird-looking interlopers).

READ ALSO Magpies are evil, rotten, malevolent, dead-eyed bastards. Fact check: true

Access Canberra warns: “Magpies can swoop from July through to December (usually for about eight weeks) during the spring while they build nests, lay and protect eggs and raise nestling and fledgling birds. Not all magpies will swoop but some will as a natural instinct to protect their territory (area around their nest) and their young.”

So, is the swooping a seasonal reign of terror or an avoidable fact of life? Sub-editor David Murtagh made his feelings plain with one of the best-read editorials in Region‘s recent history, winningly titled Magpies are evil, rotten, malevolent, dead-eyed bastards. Fact check: true.

But not everyone agreed that the black and white marauders were motivated by ill-intent.

Many sided with Graham Cooke, who said “I feed our local magpies every day with the cat’s leftovers, and have never been swooped”, and Joe Humphries, who said: “They are a part of Aussie life. Either you love them or you hate them. Ranting about them doesn’t help. Get over it”.

Not Albert, though, who applauded the callout, writing “I can imagine the conga line of sedentary, diesel driving, nature channel experts that will decry your article.

“A question for anyone taking you to task: When did you last get outside, do some serious exercise and gracefully accept multiple magpie attacks as your own fault for daring to enjoy the great outdoors?”

Have you been swooped by a magpie?

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I feed my local magpie squadron much to the distain of my wife. Have even helped a single mum magpie raise her lone fluffy chick until flight time. Go forth my black and white minions and claim your space. I incite them to swoop by showing cut-outs of our Local Council members. Come to think of it the cut-outs might do a better job than our ‘elected’ officials.

As with so many of these “polls” the two choices for an answer are not good enough options for the question that has been put. I have been swooped this week but I don’t consider the magpies vicious and I love to see and hear them. So no answer available for me on this one. Also, why is it called “Today’s Poll” when it sits up there for at least a week?

Stanleyhistory12:50 pm 13 Aug 23

excellent point, harken. I love doing polls and surveys but so often they are poorly constructed, like this badly framed question.

Roger Shelton4:19 pm 13 Aug 23

Not vicious? I got swooped in the back of the head head so hard that it bled. I was just quietly walking steadily along a local street, and it was autumn!
What do you rate as ‘vicious’?

Lindsay Graham10:08 pm 13 Aug 23

Absolutely agree with harken — I can’t respond to the survey as it is very poorly worded. As a regular cyclist, I’ve been swooped many times by magpies with blood drawn from ear or neck on several occasions. But they are certainly not ‘vicious bastards’, just doing the natural thing and protecting their young. Learn to live with them!

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