Swooping magpies

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by amirm, Sep 10, 2003.

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  1. amirm

    amirm New Member

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    So the fact that government removes nests of aggressive magpies from public places is going to make them worse.

    By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth maggie got me in the ear! No damage was done though. That was the day I tried an entirely new route to avoid other menacing magpies and had to lap 7 times to get my daily kms. The same maggie swooped on me (got my ear only on the first attempt which almost gave me a heart attack!) twice per lap. After 5 laps (10 swoops) I gave up. Went somewhere else and did the rest of training. Damn, it's so hard not to find a peaceful place to do our harmless business. It's either drivers, pedestrians, dogs or magpies. Huh! Got it out of my system finally ;)

     


  2. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "amirm" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth
    maggie
    > got me in the ear! No damage was done though. That was the day I tried

    I think they've picked up on this thread, those maggies, because I got tapped on the helmet this
    morning, riding along Dandenong Rd. First one for the season...

    I don't really see what the fuss is about though, I've only ever had them tap my helmet - some of
    the horror stories posted though make it seem like I'm a lucky survivor or something! :)

    hippy
     
  3. Tom N

    Tom N Guest

    "amirm" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > So the fact that government removes nests of aggressive magpies from public places is going to
    > make them worse.
    >
    > By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth maggie got me in the ear! No
    > damage was done though. That was the day I tried an entirely new route to avoid other menacing
    > magpies and had to lap 7 times to get my daily kms. The same maggie swooped on me (got my ear only
    > on the first attempt which almost gave me a heart attack!) twice per lap. After 5 laps (10 swoops)
    > I gave up. Went somewhere else and did the rest of training. Damn, it's so hard not to find a
    > peaceful place to do our harmless business. It's either drivers, pedestrians, dogs or magpies.
    > Huh! Got it out of my system finally ;)

    Last year I think a poster suggested a clear plastic shield attached to your helmet and covering the
    back of your head and ears.

    But it sounds like you need to cover your face as well - at least eyes, with eyeglasses, sunglasses
    or builder's eye protectors from the hardware store (NB some of the latter are pretty stylish and
    well priced these days - basically they look like low-tint sunglasses with good coverage).

    I've got the ultimate solution - a Triton Powered Respirator! :) Basically a construction
    (builder's) helmet with a full face shield attached, ear protectors, a cloth shroud over your neck
    and back of head plus a battery-powered fan blowing filtered air into the whole thing. Not only
    protects you from magpies, but also verbal abuse from old ladies (when riding on footpaths) and car
    drivers, and pollution. Helmet probably not approved for cycling though :-( And you look like a
    cross between Bob the Builder and a cyborg? from Dr Who.
     
  4. Apologies to those who don't know the area in Sydney I'm talking about. It's about 15km southwest of
    the city itself. Also, apologies about the length - it's fresh in the mind.

    Along the M5 East (freeway) in Sydney part of the cycleway is closed for work on the Metrogrid
    project (new underground power mains into the city). It's the southern side between Kingsgrove &
    Bexley Rd's. This sent me via the northern side of the M5 last week. It's partially back streets
    with some cycleway through a park.

    I got into the park & bingo! The first swoop stunned me, fortunately I immediately realised what has
    happening & dropped the hammer. This seemed to inspire the magpie as it could swoop me 3 or 4 times
    in a single pass. I had about 500m to Kingsgrove road & I was moving (I'm a sprinter). The bird kept
    coming. About 150m from the road, I started to worry, as it's a big intersection with an exit/entry
    to the motorway. I thought 'what the f*** am I going to do if I hit the intersection at 50-60k's
    with this bird still attacking me?'. Fortunately, it gave up about 75m from the road & swung up on
    to a light pole to stare at me for a while. I stopped at the lights & composed myself. A rough count
    would have put the number of passes at about 25, with contact being made 3 or 4 times.
    Understandably, I took an alternate route back to Bexley Rd on the way home (via Kingsgrove Ave).

    Today, I headed to Roselands shopping centre (on another note, anyone know if there are any proper
    bike racks there?). I travelled the northern side of the M5 east again, this time I stuck to the
    streets up until just before Kingsgrove Rd (avoiding the pathway). No attack. I got to King Georges
    Rd & waited at the lights (opposite a school). A magpie arrive & looked down at me from up on the
    lights. I started to worry & after a while, I stupidly broke eye contact. Whoosh! I managed to lock
    back on to it until the lights changed. Then it chased me down King Georges Rd for a bit & buggered
    off. Another location to avoid.

    On my way home, I took a slightly different route & managed to race through the intersection before
    any 'incidents'. Now all I had to do was retrace my route home & I'd be safe, right? Wrong! Back in
    the Kingsgrove Rd to Bexley Rd stretch I was cruising through the 'safe' back streets when I got the
    tap on the helmet. The chase was on again. I raced through most of the way to Bexley Rd & was "only"
    swooped 7 or 8 times with no contact, but I'm pretty sure it was the same mongrel from last week.
    They say they remember. Either it was venturing a street across from the pathway, or it spotted me
    across the way.

    Anyway, great timing on the Metrogrid closure Transgid! A nice barren piece of bike path with no
    trees between a freeway & a canal. Perfect for riding at this time of the year. No, lets send the
    pedestrians & cyclists through the trees in September.

    When are they meant to stop swooping anyway?

    Cheers,

    Justin

    "amirm" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Tom N wrote:
    > > A guy was killed recently by a magpie striking his eye. See e.g.
    > > http://tinyurl.com/njf1http://tinyurl.com/njf1 which is
    http:/-
    > >
    /www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,7171577%255E2862,00-
    > >
    .htmlhttp://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,7171577%-
    > > 255E2862,00.html What techniques work depends on the individual magpie. In the case of the
    > > above magpie, a shotgun is appropriate. I try to give magpies plenty of space at all times,
    > > hopefully that
    helps
    > > them stay calm and be human-friendly in the future.
    > > http://tinyurl.com/njg2http://tinyurl.com/njg2 (which is
    http://www.the-
    > >
    couriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,7238628%255E3102,00.ht-
    > >
    mlhttp://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,723862-
    > > 8%255E3102,00.html ) says... Bird expert Dr Peter Mather, from Queensland University of
    > > Technology, said the traditional view of why magpies attacked was they had past problems with
    > > humans and long memories. Dr Mather said the birds lived 20 to 25 years and might
    brand
    > > all humans as threats, like goannas, after a single act of aggression. "While it hasn't been
    > > 100 per cent demonstrated, there is certainly evidence that magpies are not usually aggressive
    > > until someone interferes with their young," Dr Mather said. I am thinking of putting my little
    > > dog (7kg) on the bike rack - but I
    am
    > > not sure if that would entice them more or less. Anyone tried one of those legionairres hats
    > > (cloth flapping around behind your head) under your helmet, or a bike flag? "amirm"
    > > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:3f5fafc9-
    > > [email protected]:[email protected]
    > > > Yesterday, the confounded birds got me three times.
    > > >
    > > > I took a spin to catch up with my weekly kms. On the route that I normally take for this
    > > > purpose, I have been being swooped on two locations regularly. Yesterday, I took an extended
    > > > version of the route and the third bird got me, too.
    > > >
    > > > After encountering these birds I can see that their swooping
    behaviour
    > > > varies. One of them only comes close so I can hear him/her approaching, but never makes any
    > > > contact. The second bird (different spot) always makes only one contact. It feels as if
    > > > he/she kind of grabs on my jersy for a short time. No contacts with helmet. Since I do about
    > > > 50-60 kmh on that part of the route, I guess one swoop is enough, and by then I have already
    > > > left the territory!
    > > >
    > > > The bloody third one yesterday got me when I was doing like 30 kmh. This one kept bashing on
    > > > my helmet. At least 6-7 times! It wouldn't let me go. Kept coming back for a good 300
    > > > meters. I got so angry I thought I would grab the bloody neck of the bird and snap the dumb
    > > > head off, but I could only wish!
    >
    > So the fact that government removes nests of aggressive magpies from public places is going to
    > make them worse.
    >
    > By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth maggie got me in the ear! No
    > damage was done though. That was the day I tried an entirely new route to avoid other menacing
    > magpies and had to lap 7 times to get my daily kms. The same maggie swooped on me (got my ear only
    > on the first attempt which almost gave me a heart attack!) twice per lap. After 5 laps (10 swoops)
    > I gave up. Went somewhere else and did the rest of training. Damn, it's so hard not to find a
    > peaceful place to do our harmless business. It's either drivers, pedestrians, dogs or magpies.
    > Huh! Got it out of my system finally ;)
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > >--------------------------<
    > Posted via cyclingforums.com http://www.cyclingforums.com
     
  5. Tom N

    Tom N Guest

    "Justin Turner" <justin(nospam)@(nospam)logicalfusion.com.au> wrote
    > Along the M5 East (freeway) in Sydney part of the cycleway is closed for work on the Metrogrid
    > project (new underground power mains into the city). It's the southern side between Kingsgrove
    > & Bexley Rd's. This sent me via the northern side of the M5 last week. It's partially back
    > streets with
    some
    > cycleway through a park.

    Dunno about that bike path but I've seen bike paths in Melbourne closed to be reconcreted. Didn't
    actually stop me using the path - I was riding on smooth earth instead of concrete.

    Maybe you should investigate how "closed" it really is. But the underground power mains bit could
    be a worry.
     
  6. Tom N

    Tom N Guest

    Maybe they don't see hippies as a threat. Could be the flowers on your clothes :) or the long hair
    or the tie-dye T shirts.

    The only real danger is a) your eyes and b) you crash into something/ fall off/ get hit by a car
    while worrying about being swooped and pecked. Otherwise the danger of a magpie is no worse than the
    danger of a moderate "off".

    Puts me off riding in magpie season. But maybe I am a wuss.

    The bike paths near me all seem to have at least one swooping magpie - in one place the council even
    put up a "Danger swooping magpie" (Kew - near Chandler Hwy bridge over Eastern Fwy) so that bugger
    must be bad (never seen him myself).

    "hippy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "amirm" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth
    > maggie
    > > got me in the ear! No damage was done though. That was the day I tried
    >
    > I think they've picked up on this thread, those maggies, because I got tapped on the helmet this
    > morning, riding along Dandenong Rd. First one for the season...
    >
    > I don't really see what the fuss is about though, I've only ever had them tap my helmet - some of
    > the horror stories posted though make it seem like I'm a lucky survivor or something! :)
     
  7. Andy White

    Andy White Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    > "amirm" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > By the way, the day after I posted the original message, a fourth
    > maggie
    > > got me in the ear! No damage was done though. That was the day I tried
    >
    > I think they've picked up on this thread, those maggies, because I got tapped on the helmet this
    > morning, riding along Dandenong Rd. First one for the season...
    >
    > I don't really see what the fuss is about though, I've only ever had them tap my helmet - some of
    > the horror stories posted though make it seem like I'm a lucky survivor or something! :)
    >
    > hippy
    >
    I'm with you there. I know where they are, so don't get a huge fright (which could be bad for you)
    when I get tapped on the helmet several times. I do make sure that I don't turn around to frighten
    it away, as I worry about my eyes. Easy to simply keep riding and ignore the thing.
     
  8. Suzy Jackson

    Suzy Jackson Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...

    > I don't really see what the fuss is about though, I've only ever had them tap my helmet - some of
    > the horror stories posted though make it seem like I'm a lucky survivor or something! :)
    >
    > hippy

    When I was a little tot, I ended up with a couple of stitches in the top of my head where one hit
    me. Scared the bejesus out of me. I did a Superman into the side of a car a couple of years ago, and
    obliterated the original scar, replacing it with a decent fifteen stitch one.

    Regards,

    Suzy
     
  9. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "Tom N" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    > But it sounds like you need to cover your face as well - at least eyes,
    with
    > eyeglasses, sunglasses or builder's eye protectors from the hardware store (NB some of the latter
    > are pretty stylish and well priced these days - basically they look like low-tint sunglasses with
    > good coverage).

    Well it's my opinion that you should always wear glasses of some sort while riding anyway. Unless
    I'm just going to the shops, I'll always have my $15 yellow (for night visibility) safety glasses
    on. Before you worry that my socks are pulled to my knees and I've got trousers clips on (sorry
    anyone who likes this look).. these actually look ok. As Tom says, they just look like a standard
    pair of Oakley knockoffs, but have clear-yellow lens. I do have another pair with a dark tint for
    daytime summer riding and a pair of Scott, but they give everything a strong red tint.

    > I've got the ultimate solution - a Triton Powered Respirator! :)
    Basically
    > a construction (builder's) helmet with a full face shield attached, ear protectors, a cloth shroud
    > over your neck and back of head plus a battery-powered fan blowing filtered air into the whole
    > thing. Not only protects you from magpies, but also verbal abuse from old ladies (when

    If verbal abuse from old ladies is a problem.. you are riding too slow! :)

    > riding on footpaths) and car drivers, and pollution. Helmet probably not approved for cycling
    > though :-( And you look like a cross between Bob
    the
    > Builder and a cyborg? from Dr Who.

    Cool. ;-) Do they come tie-dyed?

    hippy
     
  10. Unfortunately it's totally fenced off & full of excavators & trucks. It's part of a 28km trench to
    the city (which is going to be passing by my street shortly so I'm told). It's streets or swoops for
    me until the end of November.

    "Tom N" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:%[email protected]...
    > "Justin Turner" <justin(nospam)@(nospam)logicalfusion.com.au> wrote
    > > Along the M5 East (freeway) in Sydney part of the cycleway is closed for work on the Metrogrid
    > > project (new underground power mains into the
    city).
    > > It's the southern side between Kingsgrove & Bexley Rd's. This sent me
    via
    > > the northern side of the M5 last week. It's partially back streets with
    > some
    > > cycleway through a park.
    >
    > Dunno about that bike path but I've seen bike paths in Melbourne closed to be reconcreted. Didn't
    > actually stop me using the path - I was riding on smooth earth instead of concrete.
    >
    > Maybe you should investigate how "closed" it really is. But the
    underground
    > power mains bit could be a worry.
     
  11. patch70

    patch70 New Member

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    Yesterday I saw a magpie attacking a flying goose that was about 4 or 5 times its size. The goose looked scared too.

    Thus:
    (1) cyclists are not the only ones to be attacked by magpies. Geese are also attacked.
    (2) I have seen the occasional cyclist looking like a goose.

    Is there a connection???
     
  12. amirm

    amirm New Member

    Joined:
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    Your logic is skewed mate! ;)


     
  13. Agamlen

    Agamlen Guest

    They won't evolve into non-swooping maggies. You will just select out the ones who are not to good
    at it and help to breed super swoopers.

    Mitch Pollard wrote:
    > I dont want to come across as cruel or evil, but ever since i saw my best mate get smashed hard in
    > the head when we were 9 years old. from a dirty maggie. Ive had a chip on my shoulder. I always
    > play baseball with them. remember, evolution with only happen if you change things. and by me,
    > owning maggies when they swoop. they will evolve into non swooping bitches..
    >
    >
    >
    > "Jock" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    >>Think how you would be feeling if your nuts had just grown 20 times
    >
    > larger.
    >
    >>I reckon I'd be a little touchy as well and lash out here & there. The hat with eyes on the back
    >>is the go. They are cowards & won't attack you if they think you can see them. Jock "amirm"
    >><[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >>
    >>>Yesterday, the confounded birds got me three times.
    >>>
    >>>I took a spin to catch up with my weekly kms. On the route that I normally take for this purpose,
    >>>I have been being swooped on two locations regularly. Yesterday, I took an extended version of
    >>>the route and the third bird got me, too.
    >>>
    >>>After encountering these birds I can see that their swooping behaviour varies. One of them only
    >>>comes close so I can hear him/her approaching, but never makes any contact. The second bird
    >>>(different spot) always makes only one contact. It feels as if he/she kind of grabs on my jersy
    >>>for a short time. No contacts with helmet. Since I do about 50-60 kmh on that part of the route,
    >>>I guess one swoop is enough, and by then I have already left the territory!
    >>>
    >>>The bloody third one yesterday got me when I was doing like 30 kmh. This one kept bashing on my
    >>>helmet. At least 6-7 times! It wouldn't let me go. Kept coming back for a good 300 meters. I got
    >>>so angry I thought I would grab the bloody neck of the bird and snap the dumb head off, but I
    >>>could only wish!
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>--
    >>>
    >>>>--------------------------<
    >>>
    >>>Posted via cyclingforums.com http://www.cyclingforums.com
    >>
    >>
     
  14. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "Justin Turner" <justin(nospam)@(nospam)logicalfusion.com.au> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Unfortunately it's totally fenced off & full of excavators & trucks. It's part of a 28km trench to
    > the city (which is going to be passing by my
    street
    > shortly so I'm told). It's streets or swoops for me until the end of November.

    They're not that bad.. just look at them as a challenging 'obstacle' ;) There was one persistant one
    last year near Heatherdale Rd. I think on his best day, he tapped my helmet 7 times as I went past.
    I used to try and get tricky and sneak up on him on the service road and then sprint when I saw him
    - great fun! :)

    hippy
    - what doesn't peck your eyes out makes you stronger!
     
  15. patch70

    patch70 New Member

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    Must be all the magpie beaks penetrating my skull over the years...
     
  16. Dorre

    Dorre Guest

    amirm <[email protected]> wrote:
    # Tom N wrote:
    # > A guy was killed recently by a magpie striking his eye. See e.g.
    # > http://tinyurl.com/njf1http://tinyurl.com/njf1 which is http:/-
    # > /www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,7171577%255E2862,00-
    # > .htmlhttp://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,7171577%- 255E2862,00.html

    # > Queensland University of Technology, said the traditional view of why magpies attacked was
    # > they had past problems with humans and long memories. Dr Mather said the birds lived 20 to 25
    # > years and might brand all humans as threats, like goannas, after a single act of aggression.
    # > "While it hasn't been 100 per cent demonstrated, there is certainly evidence that magpies are
    # > not usually aggressive until someone interferes with their young," Dr Mather said.

    # So the fact that government removes nests of aggressive magpies from public places is going to
    # make them worse.

    Removing nests doesn't prevent aggressive birds breeding in future years and so passing on their
    aggressive genes. But traits like swooping are usually pretty heritable. If there were a way of
    preventing the aggressive birds from breeding, I'm sure there'd be equally many birds in urban
    area, and much better behaved ones too. Dorre
     
  17. "Dorre" wrote:

    > Removing nests doesn't prevent aggressive birds breeding in future years and so passing on their
    > aggressive genes. But traits like swooping are usually pretty heritable. If there were a way of
    > preventing the aggressive birds from breeding, I'm sure there'd be equally many birds in urban
    > area, and much better behaved ones too.

    I think we could have a "nature or nurture" debate about this. Birds have a remarkable ability to
    learn, copying the behaviour of successful parents (imprinting??).

    Normally, magpies stop swooping as soon as the young leave the nest (but different pairs nest at
    different times through the spring). But come November/December, you'll see half-hearted swooping
    behaviour from dad magpie with junior (nearly full-sized) watching attentively nearby. I suspect
    that part of the training includes which animals to swoop.

    Taming suburban birds by feeding them just might be the most effective strategy - sounds like a PhD
    topic for someone...

    John
     
  18. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "Dorre" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Removing nests doesn't prevent aggressive birds breeding in future years and so passing on their
    > aggressive genes. But traits like swooping are usually pretty heritable. If there were a way of
    > preventing the aggressive birds from breeding, I'm sure there'd be equally many birds in urban
    > area, and much better behaved ones too.

    What about traits like dumping the clutch at 6000rpm, impatience, speeding, accelerating through
    amber/red lights, throwing stuff from car windows, road rage, the "need" to take little Emily to MLC
    in the biggest car available and the apparently linked inability to drive this "tank". I would much
    prefer these traits to be removed from humans... the birds can continue do as they please - they
    present the least of my concerns on the road.

    </rant> hippy
     
  19. Chris_L

    Chris_L New Member

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    The real fun starts when you get attacked by two magpies at once, as happened to me a couple of weeks ago!

    I've taken to squirting them with my waterbottle, which will at least deter an attack for a few seconds, giving you time to get out of their "zone" (magpies do seem to be pretty territorial). Although right now in hot, drought-affected Queensland, I think the waste of water might be worse than anything the magpie might do.
     
  20. cfsmtb

    cfsmtb New Member

    Joined:
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