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Expert predicts bumper season of attacks Down Under

“If they think you’re a threat, they will follow you and attack you for years," says behavioural ecologist Darryl Jones. He predicts that there are going to be more magpie attacks in Queensland this year following an unusually mild winter.

About nine percent of Australian magpies become aggressive during nesting season. A national survey found that in nearly half of attacks, the person on the receiving end is a cyclist. They tend to approach from behind. We published a video of one attack in 2014.

Jones told the Courier Mail that because of the weather, magpies started nesting in July this year – “which is just crazy.” He said this was around six to eight weeks earlier than normal.

“They’ll have one whole lot of chicks before they have their normal lot of chicks. It’s going to be a long season, I’m pretty sure. Magpies only attack when there are chicks in the nest, so if there are going to be more chicks, there are going to be more attacks.”

He also said: “If you’ve been attacked in the past, you’ll probably get attacked in the future.”

ABC reports that Australian cyclists can make use of the Magpie Alert website to track aggressive magpies in their area.

"If you want to go for a walk or cycle, check the website first to see if they are swooping in the area and then just change your route," said creator Jon Clark.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

11 comments

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Jacobi [172 posts] 1 year ago
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"If you want to go for a walk or cycle, check the website first to see if they are swooping in the area and then just change your route," said creator Jon Clark.

Or alternatively, carry a tennis racket.

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2old2mould [55 posts] 1 year ago
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Is there any animal in Australia that isn't trying to kill you! FFS, no wonder we sent criminals there.

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GerardR [143 posts] 1 year ago
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Great!  Same likely for New Zealand, then.  I've felt the tip of a claw through the back of my helmet more than once.  Some recommend putting tie wraps, with the uncut end pointing upwards and backwards: any ideas on passive defences from the northern hemisphere (other than a tandem with a tail gunner)?

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ronin [279 posts] 1 year ago
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I live in front of a park, so I get to see a lot magpie behavior (usually when looking out of a window wondering if i'm gonna get rained on, the BBC weather app is surely going down hill). 

Basically in my park there are three groups, the magpies, the crows and the seaguls.  They will compete with each other day to day, but if a cat comes to the area then the magpies call a squadron to see it off.  Worst yet for any rat that dares to venture in the park in daylight, all three groups will work together until it realises it's mistake and runs for it's life.

It's usually very entertaining to see such behaviour, however, it's not so nice to see them chase cranes or birds of prey away that now rarely venture there.

I was running around a park in Dubai, but it was the crows that were swooping at me, after I mistakenly stepped on the wrong area, following me for a good 50 meters.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 1 year ago
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GerardR wrote:

Great!  Same likely for New Zealand, then.  I've felt the tip of a claw through the back of my helmet more than once.  Some recommend putting tie wraps, with the uncut end pointing upwards and backwards: any ideas on passive defences from the northern hemisphere (other than a tandem with a tail gunner)?

If their habit is to attack from behind, then a big pair of stick on eyes might confuse them.

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DanielCoffey [18 posts] 1 year ago
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The fisheye lens makes the magpie seem to be all beak! Half bird, half pterodactyl!

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Yorkshire wallet [1573 posts] 1 year ago
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Cycling appears to be utterly shit in Australia. If it's not fines for bells and helmets, it's being attacked by wildlife. 

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leaway2 [80 posts] 1 year ago
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If it is a single Magpie, you have to salute it. Probably a $300 fine in Aus though, saluting whilst riding a bicycle.

 

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lro0001 [10 posts] 1 year ago
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The magpies are out early, already been attacked twice, but they only attack for about 6 - 8 weeks...

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wycombewheeler [1237 posts] 1 year ago
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leaway2 wrote:

If it is a single Magpie, you have to salute it. Probably a $300 fine in Aus though, saluting whilst riding a bicycle.

 

Think you are OK as long as you keep the hand near the bell on the bars.

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samuri [72 posts] 1 year ago
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GerardR wrote:

 any ideas on passive defences from the northern hemisphere

 

Give'em a driving license, then they'll never see you.