Attacking magpies

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Attacking magpies
From: Rafael Furniss <>
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 18:20:13 +1000 (EST)
I know this was discussed a little sometime ago, but I can't recall if a
anyone came up with a good way of repelling their attacks. I raise the
subject again as this morning I was attacked, and as a consequence my
bicycle and I become one with the bitumen. Other people have narrowly
avoided riding into oncoming traffic in an effort to escape and several
people have sustained bleeding wounds to the neck or ears. Now short of
ringing the council to have the pair shot (which I'm loathe to do) what
can I do to deter them? Observation shows that adult magpies can attack
humans from prior to egg-laying, up until the young are 6 months old. 7
months or so in a year is a little long to endure their attacks. Following
are some methods tried by others in various places with varying success.
Any suggestions are welcome.

1) Capture of the birds, secondaries clipped or removed to inhibit
dive-bombing. It didn't seem to affect their flying capabilities. Would
clipping their primaries be a death sentence for them?

2) Shooting the birds. Solves the problem but is a little drastic.

3) Waving a bicycle pump in a random pattern around the head. Keeps them
at a metre away.

Suggested (but untried) methods

1) Remove the eggs from the nest. Would they just lay more?
   (And you'd have to be game to remove them)

2) Relocation of the birds. I reckon the magpies in the new area would
kill them, so not an ideal method.

3) Teatowel wrapped around ears and neck to protect exposed skin from
attack. Should work.

4) Eyes of some kind glued to the back of bicycle helmet. I'm trialling
some teddy-bear eyes (with the pupils that roll around) and black felt for
eye-brows tomorrow, I'll let you know. Think they'll fall for it?

5) Carry a small umbrella that opens with the click of a button. Open
prior to entering the war zone, use to deflect attack from behind.

Any other suggestions will be gratefully received. 


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