Cyclists top target for magpies  

Don Gribble 30 October 2017

Some magpies become highly aggressive during breeding season from late August to early October, and will swoop and sometimes attack passersby.

Is your house in a magpie attack hotspot? Find out.

An overwhelming 68% of magpie attacks in Australia this year have been on cyclists, according to a study by finder.com.au.

The research, which examined more than 2,200 injury reports from MagpieAlert.com, also found that walkers make up 25% of incidents, including 39 attacks on people walking their dogs.

In which suburbs are you most at risk?

Glenwood in New South Wales is the most dangerous suburb in Australia, with 30 magpie attacks.

Queensland is the riskiest state with 696 incidents since January and Western Australia the safest state, with only 51 attacks reported.

September was the worst month for attacks with 61%, followed by August with 35%.

StateSuburbAttacks
NSWGlenwood30
ACTActon24
ACTYarralumla17
NSWSans Souci16
QLDBuddina13
ACTBarton12
QLDFairfield12
QLDLutwyche12
VICWodonga12
ACTCurtin11

While the Australian Capital Territory has four out of the top highest suburbs for magpie attacks, there have only been 275 attacks, which is the third fewest of all the states.

StateAttacks
QLD696
NSW651
VIC480
ACT275
SA122
WA51

Magpies are known for their aggressive nature during spring when they become extremely territorial.

Victims of magpie attacks across Australia have reported injuries ranging from scratched and bleeding heads to bitten ears and even twisted ankles as the result of an attack. And cyclists are even more at risk, as attacking birds can cause them to crash their bikes, resulting in a range of injuries from open wounds to broken bones.

“The best thing to do is steer clear, avoid eye contact and walk quickly away from their territory without running. You can also try to shield your head and eyes with a hat, helmet or even your arms. Many cyclists also recommend adding cable ties to your helmet to keep magpies away,” Insights manager at finder.com.au Graham Cooke said.

Other tips for surviving magpie swooping season include travelling in groups through affected areas, carrying an open umbrella and wearing sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. And because the research shows clearly that magpies consider cyclists a particular threat, if possible you should walk rather than ride your bike through magpie territory.

If you suffer an injury from a magpie attack, Graham Cooke recommends seeking medical attention right away, as birds carry large amounts of bacteria and any wounds may require a tetanus shot.

“Pets are also vulnerable targets, so keep a close eye out for nests when you’re out on your daily walk. And if a vet trip is required, check your pet insurance policy to see if you have accident and injury cover,” said Cooke.

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