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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]

What’s Your opinion?


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47 Responses to
With spring comes magpies. Break out the cable ties.
MrMagoo 2:04 pm 01 Sep 11

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.

Snarky 1:59 pm 01 Sep 11

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!

chewy14 1:55 pm 01 Sep 11

I don’t know how I managed to survive childhood riding my bike everywhere and not having these cable ties to protect me from murderous magpies.

carnardly 1:44 pm 01 Sep 11

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

Captain RAAF 1:42 pm 01 Sep 11

Tennis racquet will see them off for good!

Snarky 1:21 pm 01 Sep 11

Bosworth said :

I’d rather take my chances with the magpies and practice some sprint training than look like a goob.

(and carnardly too, who said exactly the same thing letter-for-letter at #1)

… because it’s all about How We Look, and that’s so important on a bicycle.

Myself, I’ve found that a small windsock on a pole on the bike is the best maggie-repellent around. In 5 years of using one they’ve never come close, not even last year’s psycho bird on Hindmarsh near Woden.

Bosworth 1:00 pm 01 Sep 11

I’d rather take my chances with the magpies and practice some sprint training than look like a goob.

Holden Caulfield 12:31 pm 01 Sep 11

lolz at the YouTube clip.

carnardly 12:27 pm 01 Sep 11

I’ve been bombed successfully and they have drawn blood off me in the past. I’d like to think i can control my bike sufficiently well and will raise one arm to wave it above my head if i have to. I still prefer not to use cable ties.

Eppo – if you porcupine your helmet, birds have more difficulty making contact with your head, that’s all.

Bonzo 12:07 pm 01 Sep 11

@Eppo, the cable ties stop psycho-magpies pecking through the gaps in a helmet or going for the ears. Most magpies just do a couple of dive bombs – nothing to worry about. Occasionally, you’ll get one that is nuts, and that’s where the extra protection is required.

I got swooped a lot last year, and got to learn the personalities of “my” magpies pretty well: from the regular inoffensive dive-bomber, to the one that only ever swooped in the afternoon, to the total whacko that would go for helmet gaps every time for 5 or 6 bombs.

It’s a long six weeks…

Brandi 12:05 pm 01 Sep 11

Magpies have been known to latch on to clothing and helmets to peck into the victim’s eyes or ears.

BlackIce 12:03 pm 01 Sep 11

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.

They can’t break through the helmet, but they can whack into it (which can be quite distracting if you’re not expecting it!). Cable ties are supposed to keep the bird from making contact with the helmet.

johnboy 11:56 am 01 Sep 11

most helmets, as pictured, are mostly air vents.

Eppo 11:51 am 01 Sep 11

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.

carnardly 11:41 am 01 Sep 11

no thanks. I’d rather take my chances with the magpies and practice some sprint training than look like a goob.

One or two cable ties should be sufficient – i just cack myself at the porcupine heads though.

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