WARNING. WARNING. WARNING.
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: MAGPIE SWOOPING SEASON.
And *just* in time for this year’s swooping season, an absolute delight of a study has confirmed magpies are smart, persistent, and absolutely target us.
“Magpies really do distinguish between people and they know individuals,” says Associate Professor Daryll Jones at Griffith University, who conducted the experiment using a combination of students with a fierce
death wish curiosity and masks. “They can recognise people, and only those people are the people getting attacked.”
Daryll + co also discovered that disguises do sweet FA when throwing a magpie off the scent, finally putting paid to the theory that drawing fake eyes on the back on your bike helmet can help deter the vicious creatures.
In fact, the only comforting bit of news to come out of this experiment is that only a very small number of Aussie magpies are actually the ones doing the swooping.
“Only around 10% of magpies attack, and of that about half of them target pedestrians. The remaining half go for either cyclists or posties and there’s a very, very small group of magpies that just attack everybody.”
All you really can do in the way of protection is keep your eyes tuned to Magpie Alert, a website dedicated to tracking aggressive magpies country-wide.