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Home loans made clear

With spring comes magpies. Break out the cable ties.

By johnboy 1 September 2011 47

magpie protection

Territory And Municipal Services are warning that it’s magpie time again:

With the warmer weather just around the corner Canberrans are urged to be aware that the magpie swooping season has begun.

“Magpies are an important part of the Canberra environment and for most of the year they are good neighbours. During the six week breeding season, however, they become territorial and may swoop people and other animals in the area of their nest to protect their young,” said Nadia Kuzmanoski, Ranger, Parks and Reserves.

“Not all magpies are threatened by people, only some will swoop. It is important not to aggravate magpies or retaliate as they can become more aggressive if irritated.

People can follow simple precautions can help avoid being swooped by a magpie:

— walk through the magpie’s territory quickly, but don’t run;
— take a different route next time;
— protect your head with an umbrella, hat or helmet and your eyes with glasses;
— attach a flag or streamers on a stick to your backpack or bike; and
— avoid throw things at magpies.

And let’s not forget the CSIRO’s groundbreaking work in this area:

[Photo by Owen from last year]


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47 Responses to
With spring comes magpies. Break out the cable ties.
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TheDancingDjinn 11:30 pm 19 Oct 12

I absolutely love this thread. Thank you all for your wonderful stories, i have not laughed like this in some time.

niknak 8:44 pm 19 Oct 12

We walk/run our woofer around the Inner North once or maybe twice a day and have not been swooped for years. The maggies, crows and minahs swoop the hound, however. He’s a well-mannered, not-too-bright dog so accepts it with good grace.

pirate_taco 5:51 pm 19 Oct 12

Watson said :

Magpies only swoop when they have hatchlings in the nest

The magpies near my house swoop my chickens all year round.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

pirate_taco 5:40 pm 19 Oct 12

Eppo said :

I really don’t understand the cable tie thing, maybe someone can explain…

Magpies can’t break through helmets. I’ve never had a problem forgoing the ridiculous porcupine hat.

I’ve had one draw blood from my ear before while on a push bike, never resorted to using cable ties though.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

77Eliza 4:30 pm 19 Oct 12

Thanks all, I braved it yesterday and other than some slightly higher blood pressure from expecting to be swooped – it was all clear.

And then came home to a dead pee wee in the backyard – wonder what that means??

Watson 10:24 am 17 Oct 12

Magpies only swoop when they have hatchlings in the nest and get more passionate about defending their territory as their offspring grows. If it’s a good season, they can have 2 broods, which is why they sometimes are seen swooping late in the season. They can also be very particular about who/what/when they swoop. We had one at our local shops one spring that would only swoop kids riding bikes. Posties are also often a very popular target. Getting off your bike often works. But then again, they might just not like the colour of your jumper.

Magpie alert is an interesting book based on research on this kind of stuff. http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Magpie_Alert.html?id=OzgLUUrAnk0C&redir_esc=y

In our neighbourhood magpies only seem to swoop dogs. I laugh so much when I walk my dog! She thinks it’s a game, so she chases the magpies and they chase her back. Endless fun!

We did have a magpie removed from near the preschool and primary school 2 years ago. My then 5yo thought it was funny to get swooped and laughed at the kids who fell to the ground in hysterics. Until he made her ear bleed and then it wasn’t quite as funny. A few days later there was a ranger at the oval to catch the aggressive bird who apparently had injured scores of little kids. I believe he said they would relocate him to somewhere away from people. And that another male would move in immediately and help raise the chicks. Since then we’ve had no people swoopers…

thatsnotme 11:19 pm 16 Oct 12

I must have the luckiest bike commute possible. This is my first spring riding to work, and I was sure I’d run across at least one angry maggie – but in 14.5km from Belco to the City, along Southern Cross / Belco Way / Barry Drive, I haven’t been swooped once – not even a half-arsed attempt.

My bike, and my gear, is basically black and white too – so I must look like as huge, unknown magpie invading their territory. Guess I’m just lucky enough to ride past plenty of laid back maggies!

Antagonist 10:33 pm 16 Oct 12

carnardly said :

Another one down near the underpass at Athlon Drive and Tuggeranong Parkway nearish to the storm water drain.

He was having a good go at one of the TaMS mower operators yesterday arvo. Cranky little bastard was doing some kamaze sh!t from the street lights.

PrinceOfAles 8:43 pm 16 Oct 12

PrinceOfAles said :

77Eliza said :

Have they mostly finished now?? I retire to the bus in swooping season, but would love to get back on my bike in from Watson- has anyone seen any along the bike path there lately? I did see one on Northbourne almost attached to a postie’s helmet yesterday, but I’m hoping that they’re mostly finished for the year??

Am I safe to get back on my bike??

(noting that I was swooper in the first week of December last year jogging around the lake near duntroon – but it was a half arsed attempt).

I`ll let you know in a few hours. I rode from Watson down to Civic, around the lake and back home again yesterday and didn`t come across any hostile birdies. I`m about to do the exact same thing in about 10 minutes so I`ll let you know.

I would say you`re safe. Just went for a ride and hardly saw any magpies let alone get swooped by one.

Madam Cholet 8:08 pm 16 Oct 12

I’m not sure if they are done yet….we have two maggies in our tree in the front yard and I could have sworn that they only just got it on the other day. There was a third one hanging around for a while and they would chase it away. I haven’t seen any pairs with young hanging out at all. it seems to have been a very quiet season altogether. I wonder why?

Bennop 6:16 pm 16 Oct 12

Theres a swooper half way up the Mt Ainslie lookout road, and on half way along Liversidge drive at ANU. I remember seeing some kind of magpie map once upon a time. I wonder if anyone else has a link?

PrinceOfAles 4:45 pm 16 Oct 12

77Eliza said :

Have they mostly finished now?? I retire to the bus in swooping season, but would love to get back on my bike in from Watson- has anyone seen any along the bike path there lately? I did see one on Northbourne almost attached to a postie’s helmet yesterday, but I’m hoping that they’re mostly finished for the year??

Am I safe to get back on my bike??

(noting that I was swooper in the first week of December last year jogging around the lake near duntroon – but it was a half arsed attempt).

I`ll let you know in a few hours. I rode from Watson down to Civic, around the lake and back home again yesterday and didn`t come across any hostile birdies. I`m about to do the exact same thing in about 10 minutes so I`ll let you know.

77Eliza 4:18 pm 16 Oct 12

Have they mostly finished now?? I retire to the bus in swooping season, but would love to get back on my bike in from Watson- has anyone seen any along the bike path there lately? I did see one on Northbourne almost attached to a postie’s helmet yesterday, but I’m hoping that they’re mostly finished for the year??

Am I safe to get back on my bike??

(noting that I was swooper in the first week of December last year jogging around the lake near duntroon – but it was a half arsed attempt).

carnardly 9:14 am 02 Sep 11

Tuggeranong pool one is a goer too. There is one diagonally opposite the wanniassa shops along the path between the red rooster roundabout and sulwood drive. he doesn’t get you on the downhill when you’re in and out of his zone within 20 seconds, but when you’re creeping up the hill, he goes and goes and goes. Another one down near the underpass at Athlon Drive and Tuggeranong Parkway nearish to the storm water drain.

Spykler 10:31 pm 01 Sep 11

MrMagoo said :

Yesterday I was surprisingly ‘bombed’ at te Florey Shops, coming off Ratcliffe, down the parth behind the bakery. Unfortunately Maggies are my littl phobia. In saying that I walked back the same way with the kids after school and not such much as flutter of angry feathers.

+1. Have lived very close to the shops for the last 5 years and have never copped it until Monday.That bird is laser-guided..

Aeek 9:06 pm 01 Sep 11

Cable ties, no, because I want them to attack my helmet.
Look or don’t look, I suspect it depends on the magpie. I don’t look.
Looking forward to the singing swooper of the Parkway tunnels near Glenoch. So cute!
What isn’t is the cyclist who goes through there carrying a huge stick.

Snarky 8:55 pm 01 Sep 11

thy_dungeonman said :

Is that one still swooping? I had pretty hard time riding past him last spring, he would pretty much stay on my helmet, hitting it constantly, but he hasn’t made an appearance this season yet. I guess I’ll know when he does but lets hope he’s a bachelor now.

Haven’t seen him yet, but the season is still very young.

keepitup 7:53 pm 01 Sep 11

I’m sure I saw the maggie that lives behind the Tuggeranong Pool, near the skateboard park, doing push-ups this morning.

farnarkler 7:24 pm 01 Sep 11

I’d like to see the footage from the bloke with the backward ‘firing’ camcorders. I ride from Lyneham into Civic via the storm drain bike path and haven’t been swooped yet. Probably too many cyclists for the magpies to be bothered.

thy_dungeonman 5:51 pm 01 Sep 11

Snarky said :

carnardly said :

Hindmarsh and Melrose? he’s a good one!!!

🙂

Yeah, he set new standards in bird badness, that one. Saw him take a dozen swoops on one poor bloke riding down from Launceston along the on-road cyclepath to Woden. Hit his helmet a couple of times.

Going the other way up Hindmarsh to Weston Creek of an afternoon during the height of the season that bird would swoop me (although never getting closer than a metre or two) pretty much all the way to the crest of the rise just past Launceston and halfway to the Parkway overpass.

Got to say though I don’t wish him harm – his little magpie ‘nads are swollen to something like 200x their normal size, so he’s extremely sore, hyped and in a foul (fowl?) mood. Can’t really blame him for that – I’d be friggin’ cranky too!

Is that one still swooping? I had pretty hard time riding past him last spring, he would pretty much stay on my helmet, hitting it constantly, but he hasn’t made an appearance this season yet. I guess I’ll know when he does but lets hope he’s a bachelor now.

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