11 February, 2020
Springtime is for cycling home through the gently falling dusk, picnics under shady trees, cool ciders on the verandah and heart-stopping surprise attacks by magpies and other territorial birds.
Out on my bike the other day, I coasted down a long, steady hill. The sun was shining, but the birds weren’t singing. Instead, a magpie decided that I was a threat, so it went in for the kill. I’ve never ridden so fast. Relief washed over me until I realised that I had to ride back the same way. My ride back up that same hill was definitely a personal best, if not a world record.[caption id="attachment_757" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Whaddyalookingat?
Photo thanks Lip Kee[/caption]
The good news is that there’s now an iPhone app to prevent these moments of terror. It’s called Swoopers. You can use it to report swooping magpies, avoid their territory or take precautions if you have to venture into their strike zone. Check it out on iTunes.
Unfortunately, we can’t find a similar app for Android phones. We’d suggest either popping a bucket on your head or having a close read of this article from Ride On Magazine, with some great advice about dealing with maggies. This should prevent the need for more drastic measures. It's worth thinking about good sunglasses - not only will they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, they can also deflect magpies.[caption id="attachment_756" align="aligncenter" width="300"] This helmet will almost certainly protect you.
Photo thanks to Richard Taylor[/caption]
Remember, they’re just being protective of their nests, so try not to stress mamma and poppa magpie too much and detour if you’re able.