Been swooped by a crazed magpie while out cycling lately? It’s not a lot of fun. While the pesky birds can do wonders for cadence, they can also draw blood, put you off your line or even lead to a crash.
Spring is breeding season for magpies. Researchers say it’s only a small percentage of the black and white beasts that attack, the more aggressive birds simply trying to protect their nearby nests.
For some reason magpies see cyclists as a major threat with statistics showing that 65% of those attacked are bike riders. By way off comparison walkers make up 25%, runners 5% and dog walkers 2%.
Help is at hand with Magpie Alert – a publicly updated database showing magpie attacks and danger zones from right around Australia.
Users can log in and use the map feature to report magpie swooping wherever they are. On the site you can see magpie swoopings in your selected local area, receive email updates of new attacks, or comment on problem birds.
You can also add notes such as this recent example from ‘TB’ in Narrabri, NSW –
‘Silent attacker, and will make physical contact to the back of your head. Very aggressive and unnatural behaviour. Tends only to attack on the northbound side of the road, but will sometimes cross the highway to attack southbound.’
Recently appearing on Network Ten’s ‘The Project’, Chris Daniels, Professor of Urban Ecology at the University of South Australia, said magpies can be a serious threat to cyclists.
“When a magpie swoops they will scrape your scull, peck your ears, and there have been instances of cyclists swerving into oncoming traffic,” he said.
Anti-magpie measures including fitting cables ties so they protrude from your helmet and even painting eyes on top of it. But experts say the best preventative measure is to simply get off your bike and walk swiftly through the danger zone.
For further details or to log an attack visit www.magpiealert.com