It’s that time of year again. Magpies.

Each breeding season – spring, August to October – a small minority (9% apparently) of  male magpies becomes ‘aggressive’ and may attack pedestrians or cyclists, or sometimes just anything.

Attacks tend to increase in severity approaching nesting time and tail off again when the chicks leave the nest. Initial attacks may consist of a warning – like landing or flying nearby. More aggressive measures include scary swoops, pecks to the back of the head or neck or face, and in extreme cases, jumping up from the ground in front of you for a full facial and chest assault.

Protected bird  Magpies are protected throughout New South Wales, most likely under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 meaning that it is against the law to harm a magpie. That’s why

Preventative measures include carrying a big stick with a flag, adding zip-ties to bike helmets, adding eyes to the back of helmets, wearing an ice cream tub with eyes cut out in the front and big eyes drawn on the back, carrying an umbrella, always maintaining eye contact with the bird, only traveling in groups of five or more, waving a stick around, waving a jacket, the old duck and sprint for it.

Injuries like scratches or punctures caused by magpies should be treated ASAP, magpies usually walk around terrorising animals in and under the ground so their claws and beaks are not clean by any means.

tweed shire magpie warningIn Murwillumbah  Warning … Warning signs are placed on posts near where magpies tend to harass people. Recently a pedestrian was seen running out onto Tweed Valley Way after being swooped.. So be careful. If you get swooped by a magpie, don’t run out onto a road.

Remember, magpies are trying to protect their families, and when you are out of range you are safe. Also magpies are known to sometimes wake up drop bears if made overly defensive.

A poem “The Magpies” by Denis Glover

More information
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheAustralianMagpie.htm

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'Mur-bah.com - site for a town with dash' kicked off in 2003. Now Murbah.com.au is an info and blogging site about the Tweed Valley and Murwillumbah by Scott C. PO Box 291 Murwillumbah.

Scott Collingwood
http://www.murbah.com.au
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