It’s that dreaded time of year again..Spring has sprung in Australia and along with that comes the illusive ‘Maggie’ in all of her glory! The Magpie (for three quarters of the year) has a beautiful disposition and a glorious song – but in Spring – HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A PROTECTIVE MOTHER!
I’m a Mother myself & I understand the pure urge to protect my young, keep them safe & put all of my needs before theirs…HOWEVER, if a person walks past my young, I do NOT feel the urge to hurtle my body at them and try to stab them in the eye WITH MY NOSE! Each to their own (species), but REALLY Mrs Magpie?
It happens every year and it’s something that we all have to deal with – this crazy Mumma ain’t going anywhere!
So if you are a fellow Australian or if you are thinking of moving here – we have researched some tips in which to ‘stay safe’ in Spring.
Tip Number 1
The best strategy we have come up with in Australia to combat this is the…
Zip Tie Helmet! We’ve come a long way from ye old “upside down ice cream bucket”. This evolved in the 80’s (before it was legal to wear a helmet).
The theory however stemmed from the fact that Magpies are less likely to attack when eye contact is made. When you are being swooped, trust me, the last thing you want to be doing is staring down your attacker…hence the ‘ice cream bucket’ idea was born.
To make your new age Maggie Helmet, simply get a LOT of zip ties and tie them to your helmet. If a Magpie is going to attack, it will attack your ‘highest point’. Hopefully it will attack the zip ties and not your head!
Tip Number 2
Never provoke a Magpie to attack. Don’t throw rocks, sticks or go anywhere near their babies.
Tip Number 3
If you do find yourself in an ‘attack area’, here are some tips:
Do not run – simply walk
Do not scream, yell or flail your arms about (although this is usually my number one reaction)
Place your arms above your head to protect your head and eyes.
Try to keep your eyes on the Magpie. They usually attack from behind & they are much less likely to attack if they are being made eye contact with.
If you are on your bike, hope off & walk it. Magpies are not huge fans of bikes. Walk your bike quickly from they attacking area
There is a site devoted to tracking ‘cranky maggies’ called Magpie Alert. They are Australia’s social website to track aggressive magpies in your area. We are encouraged to help protect others and share swooping magpie attacks! This is for real!
The map above show all of the reported attacks so far (in less than a week!). The red signifies bad injury! Most of these occurrences happened whilst cycling.
p.s all of that being said, it would be un-Australian to see someone getting swooped and not laugh…in fact, it happened to us yesterday, there was a lyrca clad lady happily jogging along the path with her earphones plugged in…she didn’t even see it coming! He swooped, then her arms were flailing all about like a crazed lunatic…whilst giggling to myself, I really hoped the song she was listening too was ‘Eye of the Tiger’ lol!
We hope you avoid a Magpie attack this season! Remember that this Maggies are simply protecting their young…they also produce a beautiful song so let’s not get too mad at them!
If you would like to read another perspective on the illusive Magpie – head to Mrs Woog. She is a hilarious blogger and we love her!
We also have some fun video tutorials for you to view on our YouTube Channel.