Well I just rode through the magpie's territory. I rode through 5 times.
On the back of my bicycle helmet I had attached a pair of black felt
eye-brows, a pair of 12mm ordinary teddy bear eyes - orange with black
pupils, then replaced them with a pair of 30mm white eyes with roll-around
black pupils. I also wore a teatowel hanging over my ears and the back of
my neck. I was dive-bombed over a 200m stretch of the university ring
road, about 16 times, by both parents. They struck my helmet 3 times.
Following Shane's suggestion, I stopped each time one of them dived at me,
then moved on a few more metres until one attacked again. When I stopped
they would sit in a nearby tree as close as 3m, and stare at me. It seems
to me that someone has had a go at them before, as they were quite
agitated, calling a lot and hovering above my head even after I'd stopped
moving. They don't divebomb people who walk, so it's probable that whoever
stirred them up had been on a bicycle.
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. A detour around this section of
road is possible although it adds 1km to the journey. If riding through a
magpie's territory, I would recommend
a) wearing a teatowel to cover the neck and ears, (only in the danger
zone, to avoid being laughed at), and
b) walking one's bike through - their territory is usually not more than
about 200m. Less danger of having an accident when walking.
c) Generally trying not to antagonise them, as their divebombing will
bcome more ferocious.
I will also try Shane's advice for a week or two and see if they feel
less threatened by cyclists.