It's magpie season again as I'm sure many of you have already discovered. Spring is the prime breeding period for magpies and while many attacks are against actual predators like cats and dogs, cyclists and pedestrians seem to be frequent targets. In fact, according to Australian Geographic, 8% of magpies have an exclusive hatred of bike riders! 50% attack pedestrians but leave cyclists alone, and the other 29% have a go at both. To keep you safe while walking or cycling this Spring, we have compiled 5 top tips to help ward off these persistent predators.
Put eyes on your helmet or try to maintain eye contact. It is believed that painting or sticking eyes on your helmet may ward of magpies because they will think you are looking at them. However, magpies have very good eyesight and will quickly figure out the difference between real and painted eyes.
Attach cable ties to your helmet or hat. Attaching cable ties is another technique that many cyclists and pedestrians swear by so if you don't mind looking like a porcupine then it is worth giving it a try!
Ride or walk as fast as you can! Professional triathlete, Nicole Ward, said her best advice is to "never sit in the front of a group when approaching magpie territory, get your head down and ride as fast as you can".
Dismount. If you are being attacked, dismount your bike and walk to avoid further danger from other traffic or falling. More people are actually hurt from falling from their bikes during an attack then by the actual bird itself. Once you have dismounted, try looking the bird directly in the eye. Magpies are less likely to attack if you're watching them.
Find an alternative route. It sounds drastic but if none of the above methods have worked, it might be best to temporarily find an alternative path during the swooping season.
Information courtesy of AustCycle.