Be warned: It's magpie bombing season
By Charles Wood
WITH spring in the air, taking a quiet stroll, getting to school, going for a jog or playing golf can quickly become a matter of survival of the fittest. Often an attack happens without warning.
It's an airborne issue which is definitely pie in the sky, but isn't necessarily a matter of black and white. So how best to avoid the swoop of the dreaded nesting magpie?
If there's a problem maggie on the loose the National Parks and Wildlife Service is your best source of defence. In fact NPWS has issued some tips to help save your scone from injury.
Firstly, if swooped upon, stay calm, move out of the magpie's territory (and hope that the territory is relatively small).
Secondly, if you're on a bicycle, get off it and walk, because, as any postie will tell you, maggies hate fast moving bikes.
Thirdly, wear a hat or helmet and sunglasses. For students, if you don't have a hat, use your school bag.
Other proven forms of protection include umbrellas, preferably open and walking with friends, there's safety in numbers. With problem offenders the NPWS erects a sign warning the public to steer clear; with vicious serial swoopers the last option is to have them destroyed.
Local wildlife expert Lance Ferris says that in all his time spent in the field he has never been hit. He reckons when magpies know they are not threatened they're OK.
That's fine, but it's not black and white when you're the one on a magpie's radar and without a suitable form of defence.
When it comes to the most popular targets for magpies, posties would have to be up there.
Australia Post spokesperson Joshua Zugajev, said the start of magpie nesting season can often see some interesting attachments fixed to posties bikes and helmets.
"Some posties find that putting a flag on the back of their bike can distract the magpie, so instead of swooping at your head, they go for the flag.
Other posties also stick eyes on the back of their helmet to try and trick the magpies into diving at the back of the helmet instead of the front," he said.
"It's mainly about finding something that works for each bird from year to year though. What deters one bird doesn't always work for each one."
If you're on a budget try an ice cream container. Or think like a bird and duck.