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Old 07-21-03, 09:58 PM   #1
Chris L
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Annual magpie season in Australia thread

Yep, it's that time again. For those who weren't around twelve months ago there is a bird in Australia that, at this time of year (Spring) likes attacking the head of any creature who comes anywhere near it's nest during breeding season. This seems to be particularly pertinent to cyclists as magpies have some kind of special relationship with helmets.

I had my right ear cut open twice last year. Although the drought has eased a little (if not actually breaking) so hopefully this season won't be quite so scary.
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Old 07-21-03, 11:07 PM   #2
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Maggie season hasn't set in here yet but I'll be keeping an eye on them from this point on.
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Old 07-21-03, 11:17 PM   #3
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ooh great. Along with the pee wees and plovers, I'm going to be flat out watching where I'm going!
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Old 07-21-03, 11:22 PM   #4
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this is when a gun rack for a bike would come in handy
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Old 07-22-03, 02:38 AM   #5
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A bit of a story.......

When I was a little fella, and growing up in Canberra, we used to have a resident magpie that would terrorise the kids every season. I had red hair (and I mean glow-in-the-dark fire engine type red) and it seemed to attract the buggers even more (don't know if that is an old wives tale, but it seemed to be true at the time).

After being hit a number of times (doesn't that noise they make with the wings just before the strike send chills through you) I got opened up quite badly, when the beak ripped a chunk out of the top of my head, and opened up a triangular tear about 4 cms long on each axis - pretty traumatic for a six year old.

My pa had called the local council, parks and wildlife and pretty much everyone else he could think of, but they refused to move the birds, and said that they were a protected species and that we couldn't do anything about it.

For those of you that are Simpson's fans (and let's face it, who isn't) if you can remember the episode where Bart and Lisa are fighting and employed the "well I'm just going to spin my arms like this.... (windmill fashion) and if you happen to get in the way, then it's yoooouuuuuurrrrr fault!" then you will appreciate the thought process that went through Dad's head when deciding how to deal with the situation.

Dad took a stroll down the street with a sheet of masonite down in front of his legs - about a metre square - holding with both hands, waited for the deadly wing flapping and

whooshka brought the board up above his head as quickly as he could. No more magpie problems.

Some may disagree and pontificate about the poor poor magpie, and wasn't that sooooo cruel etc etc etc. Don't bother. I didn't loose a wink of sleep over it - quite the contrary. I don't hate magpies in general, just that one.
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Old 07-22-03, 03:04 AM   #6
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I don't have a problem with Magpie's other than my arm gets sore saluting single ones.

My wife taught me the superstition and, as the last time she failed to salute she had a dreadful bike accident, I continue to do so.
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Old 07-22-03, 08:34 AM   #7
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They do seem to have especially pointy beaks. I wonder if a battery operated propeller mounted on top of your helmet might put them off swooping in on you, or at least whack them on the beak if they try.

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Old 07-22-03, 11:27 AM   #8
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Hmmmm...Pie...
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Old 07-22-03, 02:12 PM   #9
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I have heard that if you paint a pair of false eyes on your helmet or cap looking backwards that they won't attack
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Old 07-22-03, 02:35 PM   #10
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maybe some barbwire or razor wire on top of you helmet would deter those buggers !!

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Old 07-22-03, 08:08 PM   #11
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I lost a mini-pump to a Magpie last year. As I leave our estate there are few huge gum trees and the bugger had set up nest right above the intersection. Every time I rode through he would swoop me. After a week of this, I thought I'd get clever and hold my mini-pump in my hand. As I approached the intersection I heard the familiar swoop from behind. I gripped my pump and took a good hard swing at him. I missed the Magpie but in the process the top of my mini-pump broke off and went flying across the road, luckily there were no cars there. So I not only lost the battle I also lost my pump.
These birds are our state emblem and are protected, heaven knows why?


CHEERS.

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Old 07-22-03, 09:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dutchy
I lost a mini-pump to a Magpie last year. As I leave our estate there are few huge gum trees and the bugger had set up nest right above the intersection. Every time I rode through he would swoop me. After a week of this, I thought I'd get clever and hold my mini-pump in my hand. As I approached the intersection I heard the familiar swoop from behind. I gripped my pump and took a good hard swing at him.
You should have just given him a squirt from your water bottle instead. A stream of water fired over your shoulder is usually pretty effective, as the spray is often enough to deter them, and you don't need to take your eyes off the road ahead to do it. Unfortunately it took two wounds to the ears for me to realise that one.
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Old 07-22-03, 09:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ramon
I have heard that if you paint a pair of false eyes on your helmet or cap looking backwards that they won't attack
Nope, that's just an old wives tale.

I've been attacked while wearing a full face motorbike helmet (no visor), the maggie was trying to peck out my eyes.

There's no real cure to the situation except to either not go in their territory (impractical) or remove the bird (legally or other otherwise).
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Old 07-22-03, 09:39 PM   #14
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They are protected because they are the emblem of the greatest football club in the world. Just ask eddie.
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Old 07-23-03, 06:51 AM   #15
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Easy solution avoid the nesting areas of above mentioned birds.
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Old 07-23-03, 11:05 AM   #16
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You think you know fear? Try getting attacked by 2 perigrine falcons.
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Old 07-23-03, 08:54 PM   #17
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I've was attached by birds twice this year, the first time it has ever happened to me. I was thinking maybe it had something to do with our code orange security alert that was in effect at the time. The birds had stepped it up a notch when it came to nestland security!
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Old 07-23-03, 09:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hunter
Easy solution avoid the nesting areas of above mentioned birds.
This is not always practical.
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Old 07-23-03, 09:39 PM   #19
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Easy solution avoid the nesting areas of above mentioned birds.
For some of us that would mean moving homes and avoiding most of the metro area.
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Old 07-23-03, 09:41 PM   #20
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I dont seem to have too much trouble down in Tassie with magpies, its generally plovers that attack here.. and they can kill you. Check google.
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Old 07-23-03, 09:48 PM   #21
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For some of us that would mean moving homes and avoiding most of the metro area.
They're in the rural areas too.
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Old 07-23-03, 11:06 PM   #22
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I thought the magpie population was much more dominant in rural areas anyway?
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Old 07-24-03, 12:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by live311
You think you know fear? Try getting attacked by 2 perigrine falcons.
Where you rock climbing or riding at the time?I have seen Peregrine falcons attack rock climbers in places were they should not have been.This is one bird you can not out run.It has a top speed of over 200mph in a dive.
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Old 07-24-03, 09:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I thought the magpie population was much more dominant in rural areas anyway?
They probably are, but the distraction they provide is much more scary in cities where there are more obstacles than in rural areas. They often tend to be more vicious in the cities too.
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Old 07-25-03, 05:16 AM   #25
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Originally posted by Gojohnnygo.
Where you rock climbing or riding at the time?I have seen Peregrine falcons attack rock climbers in places were they should not have been.This is one bird you can not out run.It has a top speed of over 200mph in a dive.
200mph? As if.
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