Category Archives: Australia

Magpies and bikers

Surprisingly, an Australian piece of news appeared in 2019 indicating that a man died because of a magpie attack. This shocking issue made me ask myself whether or not this incident was usual. It freaked me out reading that 4,000 attacks from magpies took place in Australia in 2019, 70% of which had cyclists as victims. These impressive figures provoked the creation of the dedicated web Magpie alert to record attacks and advise people:

  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.

  • How to cable tie your cycling helmet

They say injuries tend to occur when cyclists fall off their bikes during a magpie attack. Better, keep calm instead of flailing since it may come across as aggressive behavior and provoke the birds further.

Moreover, these birds are a protected native species in Australia, so it is illegal to kill them or take their eggs or chicks. Indeed, residents are urged to stay away from trees where magpies are known to breed.

Going a step further from the famous Hitchcock movie, it seems like the birds swoop when they perceive an unknown threat by an intruder. Furthermore, magpies are smart enough to recognize people as well as their habits and will not swoop anyone they have come to know and trust. Raven acts similarly. For example, Istanbul inhabitants suffered raven attacks in 2014 probably due to the fact that a crow was run over by a car.