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Well its Magpie time in Australia!

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Well its Magpie time in Australia!

Old 08-23-01, 06:22 AM
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sillystorm
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Well its Magpie time in Australia!

Here in Australia we have a bird that is about 3/4 the size of a raven in USA. It is black and white and a bit like a raven in beak shape.
In the mating season, just starting,1 in 10 males have enlarged testes! These males become agressive- according to the local National Parks and Wildlife Dept.
ChrisL- you would have had them attack you,right?
These agressive males defend their territory- ie they dive bomb anyone and everyone. Of couse they come down on you unexpectedly and sometimes they draw blood, but mostly they snap their wings or beak and scare the daylights out of you.
The Nat. Park. and Wild. people suggest you put an icecream container with eyes painted on or sunglasses on your head. The eyes/glasses should look backwards to scare the bird
I haven't seen a scared magpie yet!
The magpies nest in the same spot each year so you can remember where the divebombers live.
I put my hand up and wave my fingers and this seems to keep them away, but they still swoop, just not as close.
How about everyone, do you have any birds that swoop down in your part of the world?
regards, sillystorm
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Old 08-23-01, 06:32 AM
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I got chased for 5km (couldn't outrun it despite hitting 40km/h into a headwind) one day last September by one. It happened in the Tweed Valley, heading toward Murwillumbah. It actually tried to grab onto the shoulder of my jersey at one point (I kid you not). If he wanted a ride to Murwillumbah he should have said (although is that something one would actually admit to?)

Funny thing is, they don't attack when I look at them (am I really that ugly?), but that's hard if you're trying to watch the road. I'm thinking of painting "eyes" on the back of my helmet this year. Maybe that might work?

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Old 08-23-01, 07:33 AM
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I always thought Australia was a strange enchanted place. Little did I know.......

The only thing I've heard similar to this is a story about my sister. She was riding her bike to shcool one day and a large bird decided to use her hair for nest padding. She said the bird landed on her head and proceeded to pull large clumps out as she decended a long hill. All the way down the hill she was screaming and flailing and people just stared in horror. I'd give anything for a video of that.

I think it's safe to assume that this bird was one in many millions and was a ground breaker amongst the local breed.

I'll ask my sister if she remembers if the bird had enlarged genitals when I see her this weekend. It would make a great greeting.
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Old 08-23-01, 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by sillystorm
How about everyone, do you have any birds that swoop down in your part of the world?
Not unless you count squirrels among the swoopers!

Well, I guess there is always Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
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Old 08-23-01, 09:01 AM
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So Hitchcock wasn't just making it up!
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Old 08-23-01, 12:36 PM
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Well, here in the Central Valley of California we have our very own endemic Yellow-biled magpie. Black & white with a bit of blue in the wings, and a yellow bill and eye-ring. They're very social and quite vocal, but nowhere near as aggressive as those down there in Oz!

The local bird I'd vote as "most likely to swoop" would be the Western Scrub Jay. Smaller than the Yellow-billed Magpie, blue with gray underbelly. Even more vocal than the magpie, and quite aggressive in behavior. I've never been attacked by one, nor have I seen one attack any other human, but they will dive-bomb and harrass house cats.

The magpies keep the jays in their place by ganging up on them.

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Old 08-23-01, 12:52 PM
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Blue Jays and Common Grackles (2 other members of the corvid family) around here will occasionally swoop down on cyclists, especially in the mating/nesting season. At this time of year, the jays are quiet (which is unusual for them), so you don't here them coming. From your description, these agpies sound as if they are about the size of a common North American crow. That's a big bird!
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Old 08-23-01, 02:06 PM
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I thought you would have experienced them Chris! Aren't they agressive?
Thats right they don't attack when you look at them, they just dive from in the sun.
I posted this thread because 2 days ago one of the regular magpies divebombed me on the way to work. There are 2 magies that dive, they live 10km apart.
By the way I haven't checked to see if they both have swollen testes.
It seems we aussies are alone in the divebombing bird world!
By the way we also have a yellow faced plover (not proper common name) that swoops if you go near their nest- usually in the middle of a sportsfield, on the ground!
regards, sillystorm.
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Old 08-23-01, 02:12 PM
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In the North West US, we have the Red Winged Blackbird in some of the drier areas. It's very aggressive during nesting season and will chase you while you ride. They dive at you but never close enough to hit you.

Our magpies are rather lazy, they just fly around and squawk at anything and everything.

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Old 08-23-01, 03:43 PM
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I am familiar with magpies, but have never had a problem with them(except waking me up at 4am on my days off) nor have i heard of other people in my area having problems with them. The only urban wildlife that ocasionaly gives park patrons are the Canadian geese. They will chase you and nip at your arse if yo venture too close to the gozlings.

Cheers
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Old 08-23-01, 04:12 PM
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Why not just shoot them? Why not just shoot everything? Whoops, sorry, I was feeling a
little American there. We are products of our culture.
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Old 08-23-01, 04:14 PM
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Originally posted by sillystorm

By the way I haven't checked to see if they both have swollen testes.
That's why it hurts so much, you're actually being hit in the back of the head by a two-pound flying scrotum! Unless, of course, you wear a helmet . I heard a study a while back suggesting that the male magpie actually does it out of showmanship, in an attempt to impress the female around mating time.

It's the usual story, a bunch of blokes get together, and before you know it, they're doing stupid things with their peckers!

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Old 08-23-01, 05:27 PM
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Swollen testicles?

Ouch! I'd be grumpy, too!

Have you thought of feeding them their favorite food, laced with estrogen?

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Old 08-23-01, 07:39 PM
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I've never been bitten by one, although I've heard reports of them drawing blood, and even blinding children.

You don't hear them until you hear the SNAP right by your earhole, which prompts you to be very interested in what's happening above and behind you. Keep an eye on them and they don't attack. I've also heard anecdotally that eyes on the back of your helmet don't work, and niether do red or black and white helmets - which were another posited deterrent. They may work for particular birds, but not for all of them - just like people they have their own likes and dislikes.

I used to get chased by one persistent magpie when I lived in a different part of town. The good thing was that the direction I travelled meant that I could see it's shadow as is made it's attack. Just as it reached head-butting range I'd swing my head violently towards it. The startled squawk and seeing it's panicked abort of it's run was rather satisfying. I never for a second thought I'd actually hit one, just trying to meet him on his own terms.

I tend to take a live and let live approach to these birds, and accept the occasional divebombing as simply part of the game.
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Old 08-24-01, 01:37 AM
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Chris L
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Originally posted by Allister
.
The good thing was that the direction I travelled meant that I could see it's shadow as is made it's attack. Just as it reached head-butting range I'd swing my head violently towards it. The startled squawk and seeing it's panicked abort of it's run was rather satisfying.
That's what I was doing last year. I actually managed to clobber that particular magpie a few times. He kept it up for 5km though, so I'm not sure if it worked or not.

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