SWOOPING magpies around the region are a definite sign that spring has arrived.
Fourteen-year old Angel Holston warns the aggressive dive-bombing birds are out and about after coping a blow to the head in Booral’s Lowes Lane last week.
“I was riding my bike along the lane when a magpie swooped down from behind and got me in the side of my head,” Angel said.
“I screamed and started pedalling faster to get out of the way, but it circled around squawking and came at me again. I was bit scared so I jumped in the bush and stayed there until the magpie flew away.”
Angel told News Of The Area she now cautiously rides along the outer edge of the lane to avoid another encounter with the angry bird.
The arrival of spring and the swooping magpies has been accompanied by some outrageous new season fashions.
Bike helmets with cable ties attached are just one of the must-have magpie season accessories.
Frequently riding along bush tracks in Bulahdelah, nine-year old Cole Buchanan said he needs to be prepared.
“I watched a video that said putting cable ties on your bike helmet will stop the magpies swooping you,” Cole said.
“Some friends told me that the magpies will still swoop, but the cable ties will keep the birds high enough above your head to prevent a serious injury.”
President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Dr Robert Johnson, said magpies become aggressive during breeding season from late August to early October.
“Fast moving objects such as people and bikes and anyone who moves directly towards their nests are perceived as threats and are likely to be swooped. Dog walkers and toddlers in prams are also a common target,” Dr Johnson said.
“Tolerance is the best policy, we need to appreciate that some magpies will defend their territory from intruders because of a natural instinct to protect their offspring.”
Dr Johnson suggests carrying an opened umbrella or drawing a pair of eyes on the back of a helmet or hat can help fend off serious attacks.
According to the AVA, as most magpies come from behind, they may be less likely to attack if they think you are watching them.
By Daniel SAHYOUN