Do humans look like they can fly? Do people on bikes look as though they are just about to turn a vertical, and cycle up the side of the tree? Do kids walking home from school, satchels over their backs, look as though they are about to climb trees for fun?
So what’s with all the swooping, magpies?
The problem with magpies I think is that they think that we think like they think and we don’t think like that at all. Whilst magpies think nothing of raiding other birds nests and often stealing their eggs, it’s not the sort of thing us humans tend to do.
We usually get our eggs at the supermarket.
So come on magpies, calm down will you? Yes it’s…
Magpie swooping season
Magpie attacks are a serious problem and I’ve written about it before. Two years ago I wrote a post called Swooping Magpies: A Nasty Australian Bad Thing following the tragic death of a 12-year-old boy not far from where I live. He had run into the road trying to escape an attacking magpie.
That’s how serious a problem this can be.
Death following a magpie attack is extremely rare, although I’ve heard of four in Australia alone. I’ve already mentioned one, here’s the other three. Apparently, in 1946, a 13-year-old boy died from tetanus after being attacked by a magpie. In 1954, a three-year-old boy choked on food he was eating when he was attacked by a magpie. And in 2003, a 74-year-old man sustained serious eye injuries after a magpie attack and later died in hospital.
There are almost certainly many more magpie related deaths, if not in Australia, then surely from elsewhere around the world. Magpie attacks that result in blindness or serious injury from those falling from their bikes are much more common. Children are especially vulnerable.
Magpie attacks do happen with great regularity. Apparently, between 800 and 1200 attacks are reported each year in Brisbane alone.
Forewarned is forearmed, so they say, and the magpie attacks map is certainly helpful in that regard. I checked the map last week…
The live interactive map is no longer available.
So, that got me wondering. Were these maps accurate? And what’s it like to be swooped on by magpie? Up until the making of the following video, I had never been swooped on by magpie either here in Australia or back in the UK.
Is that about to change? Take a look for yourselves, but more importantly for those of you with young children, find out what I think you should be telling them. If you don’t have kids though and just want to see the swooping, forward the video to around 2 minutes and 40 seconds in…
As much as I love nature and Australian wildlife, the magpie, for me, remains an Australian bad thing. And it may only be in Australia where the magpie actually swoops. I’m no ornithologist, but I do know we certainly had magpies in the UK, I don’t ever remember seeing a swooping map or hearing of any swooping magpies there.
There are quite a few different types of magpie, apparently, ours are called the Australian magpie and in the UK they have the European magpie. Every swooping magpie story I’ve heard is Australian.
So, that got me wondering again. Do magpies swoop where you live? Let us know in the comments below…
Update September 2016
As soon as I saw the headline in my local paper, I knew it was him. Our local swooping magpie is no more.
Here’s how John Cleese would have put it:
“This magpie is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late magpie. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-magpie.”
Courtesy of questnews.com.au
The theory seems to be that a local resident finally had enough of this swooping magpie and took matters into his (or her) own hands.
Is it the same magpie that swooped on me though?
Well, apparently magpies live for around 20 to 25 years, so there is every chance this is, or rather was, the same magpie that attacked me four years ago.
I’m not sure too many people would lose much sleep over this. Even the young girl who received a nasty head wound from this magpie recently was a little indifferent. She said “I was sad that it’s died, but kind of relieved at the same time that no one else would get hurt.”
No, they won’t, not by this magpie.