The Cyclist's Defence Against Swooping Magpies

To: "'Steve'" <>, <>, "'Colin R'" <>
Subject: The Cyclist's Defence Against Swooping Magpies
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 19:01:25 +1000
A young child lost an eye here too, from the Magpie within 100 Metres of
my home in Canberra, about 8 years ago. The magpie swooped at the
child's older sibling and the mother chased it off and it flew up at the
younger child (maybe intentionally or maybe not) and struck the child in
the eye, which was so damaged that it caused blindness in that eye. 

And for what it is worth I have been bitten in the face by a Pied
Butcherbird, near my eye and that was fairly scary. 

Philip Veerman
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah  ACT  2902
02 - 62314041

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Steve
Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 6:40 PM
To: ; 'Colin R'
Subject: The Cyclist's Defence Against Swooping

Steve......Thanks for saying what I was thinking. The people that don't
take Magpie attacks seriously are those that haven't been hit yet. I
took some solid contact to the side of the head while cycling once and
came off the bike. A bit unsettling when it comes out of the blue. I too
remember the young boy here in Brisbane that lost his eye. Cheers Steve

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of

Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 4:24 PM
To: Colin R
Subject: The Cyclist's Defence Against Swooping

G'day Colin et al.

Your experience is one of luck I suspect.  In Canberra when I rode along
a couple of the major streets every day I was harassed by magpies each
spring.  One drew blood when it raked my cheek below my helmet.  The
risk of being unsettled enough to veer into traffic is not negligable.

Here in Hamilton there is a regular nest half way up a steep hill I
can't avoid.  I go up this hill slower than some and the offending bird
has enough time for 3-4 swoops.  Again I reckon the danger of crashing
is greater than the direct danger from the bird.

I think a Brisbane cyclist lost an eye to a magpie a few years ago.

Unfortunately, from the bird's point of view we are leaving his
territory as a result of the attack and this reinforces the behaviour.
It doesn't seem to be inherited fortunately.  If the agressive male is
killed or otherwise leaves, the new male may or may not be agressive.

I've not been swooped yet this season but it won't be long.



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