A terrifying video has emerged of an Australian cyclist being dive-bombed 13 times by a magpie.
The sometimes-aggressive Australian magpie is known for this tactic, and is a protected species found in all states and territories of the country.
These birds are commonly associated with swooping during breeding season, which generally runs from August to November.
The male magpies become violent defenders of their young, attacking any intruders who they perceive to be encroaching on the nests.
Bike riders being attacked are generally advised to dismount and walk away.
Jon Clarke, who runs the swoop-tracking website MagpieAlert.com, told Atlas Obscura: “Anyone across Australia can come and register their swoops to pre-warn others.” It is equipped with interactive maps and magpie-deterrence tips.
“We’ve had a number of attacks this year around the eyes and the face and the ears,” says Clarke. “Ears seem to be a pretty common attack point.”
Some studies even show that magpies are capable of “facial recognition,” and use it to zero in on their swoop victims.
Some Aussie cyclists even take defensive measures, but Bicycle Queensland chief executive Ben Wilson said methods such as attaching zip ties and googly eyes to your helmet are, based on research, “essentially useless, and make you look like a dork.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.