Magpie Watch



simpsonc

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Sep 19, 2005
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They're baaaaaaaack.....

I've posted in previous years about certain magpies in certain areas, and wasn't planning to this year - until my experience last weekend. As a result, I thought I might start a thread on hot areas where cyclists should know they are likely to cop a hammering from our little friends. Just so you aren't surprised, and pull your foot from the pedal in a panic, or steer into the path of oncoming traffic as you try to get clear.

I was visiting Wangaratta, and headed off for a midday pedal to Eldorado. A long, straight road that goes for 15-20 km. Large gum trees every 500m that hang over the road. And waiting in those trees....

After the surprise of the first strike, I was attacked no less than 12 times during the ride. The positive view is that it was great interval training being forced to sprint every 5 minutes. My advice - give the ****-Eldorado route a miss for the Magpie season, unless you have good counter-measures.
 

scirocco

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Feb 16, 2007
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I thought it was too early for magpies, but was wrong...yesterday in Perth I had one take off from the ground and pretend to have a go at me before flying off...unusual behaviour...

But yes, if you can sit on 40+ km/hr as you go past their tree they cant fly fast enough to get more than one good swoop at you.

Do cable ties on the helmet really work?
 

simpsonc

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Sep 19, 2005
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Yeah....reckon I'd rather get divebombed.

Unless they hit you , it's almost fun...the little blighters really do get furious. It's slightly amusing - kind of like when someone gets angry at you for something ridiculous, and it's all you can do to not smile or laugh.
 

Kestrel12

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Feb 4, 2006
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In Canberra the magpies are near on kamikazi in spring time, dive bombing you relentlessly for up to 500m.

Cant say exceeding 40km/h has helped, need more like 50km/h +.

On the zip/cable tie front - loads of people in Canberra take this approach and for all accounts it works. The magpies get close enough to you to feel the zip ties and then swerve away without actually hitting you. Looks a bit odd but when every second person has them on their helmet it just seems normal - but only during spring. All year round just looks wrong.

I suspect cable ties are a good way to go if you have regular impacts in magpie attacks. If they are just swooping and veering off without making contact I wouldnt bother.

Having said all that I dont bother with zip/cable ties. I get to know where the bad magpies are and just steer clear for a while or just approach with caution.

Oh - first magpie swoop in Canberre was Tuesday just gone


simpsonc said:
Yeah....reckon I'd rather get divebombed.

Unless they hit you , it's almost fun...the little blighters really do get furious. It's slightly amusing - kind of like when someone gets angry at you for something ridiculous, and it's all you can do to not smile or laugh.
 

Bruski

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Oct 8, 2005
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Had abit of fun with magpie just outside my LBS yesterday. I rekon he chose that spot to nest on purpose, just for maximum cyclists.
 

Bro Deal

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Jun 26, 2006
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Magpie attacks! When will you aussies ever learn? That sort of **** doesn't happen in the U.S. of A. We only have to worry about the random cougars, bears, and small johnsoned, two legged fellows with assault rifles.
 

Geoff Vadar

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Feb 13, 2008
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Bro Deal said:
Magpie attacks! When will you aussies ever learn? That sort of **** doesn't happen in the U.S. of A. We only have to worry about the random cougars, bears, and small johnsoned, two legged fellows with assault rifles.
You come over and take care of the maggies and I will come over and take care of your cougars.

1_400x300.jpg
 

classic1

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2006
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Geoff Vadar said:
You come over and take care of the maggies and I will come over and take care of your cougars.
I thought you'd be more of a bear hunter

bear_man.jpg
 

Geoff Vadar

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Feb 13, 2008
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classic1 said:
I thought you'd be more of a bear hunter
LOL Oh my god! Where do you come up this stuff Classic1? Why do I find the fact his right hand is out of frame quite disturbing?

Wrong!
 

Aussie Steve

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Nov 8, 2005
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I thought the buggers came out in September- its a bit early for them isnt it? anyway as for doing 40km/hr- unless you're being led out by Stuey O'Grady, its easier said than done :-( i dont care if they come from behind, its the ones that come from in front- couple of years ago I had one come toward me on a horizontal bearing like a cruise missile, head high -didnt deviate, he forced me to duck- that's fcukin scary ma'an !!!
 

jstava

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Jan 31, 2007
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The cable tie thing is worth a try. Saw a cyclist in Mansfield last week with them on. I thought they looked like drinking straws or something. Didn't get a good look. Always wanted to line a persistent one up about 11:00 AM when riding South and shadow real clear with a landing net. This year it's gone. Must've got just way too bold with a semi.
 

timmothyoborne

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Oct 23, 2007
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My solution is to carry a toy cap gun. Wait for the whoosh whoosh of wings and fire into the air. This could cause some problems with neighbours, pedestrians etc but it is great when riding in the country.
 

anthonyg

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Sep 8, 2006
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Here we go. I will just jinx myself by saying this but I haven't been swooped by ONE magpie yet this season. Now I haven't done the most riding this year but I've been out numerous times but no swooping. I was even riding down the road one afternoon and I was passed by a postie and the magpie was after him and doing a good job of keeping up at 60 km/h but he took no interest in me.

I was wondering why and then the possible answer hit me. Cable ties! So many cyclists in Canberra stick cable ties in their helmets (I don't though) that it seems that the magpies have learnt to leave us alone.

Maybe the rest of you SHOULD give cable ties a go.

Anthony
 

Aussie Steve

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Nov 8, 2005
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So how do cable ties deter these little kamikaze bastards??? i dont imagine their eyesight is good enough to spot the cable ties... even if they did, why would this deter them? I wanna see this on an episode of Mythbusters !!! arrghhhh
Please explain somebody !!
 

anthonyg

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Sep 8, 2006
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Aussie Steve said:
So how do cable ties deter these little kamikaze bastards??? i dont imagine their eyesight is good enough to spot the cable ties... even if they did, why would this deter them? I wanna see this on an episode of Mythbusters !!! arrghhhh
Please explain somebody !!

Correct. They don't see them. They FEEL them. Second time around they REMEMBER them.

If a magpie only swoops you once and then go's away its a non-event. After a while they get wise and go looking for easier prey.

After my last post stating that I hadn't been swooped all year yet I knew my good luck was going to run out and I was swooped a couple of times on todays ride but it was seriously NOTHING. The first one just hovered above my head and didn't even come close and the second one hit my helmet once and it was done. Certainly NOT typical magpie behavior.

Anthony
 

matagi

Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2006
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anthonyg said:
I was even riding down the road one afternoon and I was passed by a postie and the magpie was after him and doing a good job of keeping up at 60 km/h but he took no interest in me.
Was that coming down the hill from the Lanyon Drive roundabout towards the Tharwa Rd lights? I saw one there going absolutely berserk chasing after a postie, flapping around his helmet, all at 60 km/hr.
 

anthonyg

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Sep 8, 2006
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matagi said:
Was that coming down the hill from the Lanyon Drive roundabout towards the Tharwa Rd lights? I saw one there going absolutely berserk chasing after a postie, flapping around his helmet, all at 60 km/hr.

No, the one I was commenting on happened on Canberra Ave in Kingston but its pretty common. When i was reading the posts suggesting that you could out run a magpie at only 40 odd k/mh I thought that they were kidding themselves.

The best tactic I have against magpies is to watch for their shadow and when they are about to hit bob your head UP towards them. That usually puts them off their strike.

Anthony
 

scuppy

New Member
Nov 12, 2007
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Yeah they're faster than 40km/hr. At least in the city they get practice and dont careen into you. Some of the maggies away from towns have no idea, I think one hurt its wing crashing into my helmet. Many years ago a friend got hit by a beak in the temple but he wasnt badly hurt. I sort of make a game of it not to flinch when I'm swooped.
 

scirocco

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Feb 16, 2007
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scuppy said:
Yeah they're faster than 40km/hr..
When I said 40+km/hr all I meant was that there's a bit less relative speed once you're up there, so less force in the peck in theory. Plus at 40k you're getting away from his tree fairly quickly, so he may lose interest after a couple of goes.

They must be over for the season here in Perth anyway. I did a 100km ride yesterday along country roads with big high overhanging gum trees, and didn't get swooped once. I had some cable ties ready in my pocket - I wasn't game to put them on in advance. :) I've never seen anyone here using them.