Magpie's attacking frenzy captured on GoPro attached to a cyclist's helmet

October 07 [Tue], 2014, 13:19
A man has filmed the terrifying moment he was attacked by a dive-bombing magpie as he cycled along the chrome hearts.

Trent Nicholson captured the black and white bird swooping and pecking his helmet six times in a short video he filmed with his GoPro camera.

Even a mouthful of worms didn’t stop the magpie from its frenzied assault.

Mr Nicholson said he was cycling down Shellharbour Rd, in Shellharbour, near Wollongong, NSW, when the lone bird took aim.

‘For most of the year magpies are fascinating and endearing native birds. However, during breeding, a small percentage of them can be aggressive, swooping at passers-by in their territory,’ he wrote on YouTube.

‘Just avoid the known area for a couple months is my best advice.’

Magpie breeding season began in September and close calls with the birds have been well-documented on social media with posts from people recounting the moment they are terrorised by the bird.

In one Facebook photo, a magpie with its wings spread in full flight is seen diving towards - and just missing - the scalp of a surprised University of Western Sydney student in Bankstown, Sydney. 

On Twitter, people have told of their brushes with the pesky bird in 140 characters or less.

'Apologies to anyone in New Zealand who may have just heard the blood-curdling shrieks of someone caught off guard by a magpie swoop,' Canberra's Farz Edraki wrote.

Keeping up with current affairs, Phil S. Stein, Esq. posted: 'So when are ASIO doing something about upping the Magpie Swoop Threat level? That's the real danger.'

While Richard Tuffin issued a warning: '#canberra #Breakeing (sic) RT: I have seen a tweet on Twitter by a cyclist they have had their first magpie swoop of the season.'

But screaming, yelling and making a big fuss is not the way to deter these native creatures from leaving you alone. 

Sydney Wildlife's education officer Eira Battaglia said the best way to deal with a rogue bird was to quietly walk away.

'They can swoop past your head and it’s a warning but it's only occasionally that people have had them peck their head,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'If you stand still and put your hands over your head, they’ll stop because you’re not threatening Chrome Hearts Big Rhinestone Holy Cross and Horseshoe Black Short T Shirt Cheap .

'Do not wave your arms around, walk quietly don’t make a big fuss, and they’ll leave you alone.'

Ms Battagalia said the season would only last for about a month - depending on when eggs are laid - and it was always the male bird that was swooping because he was trying to protect his young.

Wildlife Animal Rescue and Care's Jacky Hunt also warned people not to pick up young birds they found.

'[Magpie] parents will often leave them on the ground for two or three days at a time to teach them to be independent, so they can learn how to feed themselves and hunt,' she said.

'That’s when young magpies are taken into care [by people] because they think the magpies have been abandoned, but they haven't.'

And the best way to defend oneself from magpies was to protect your head.

'People use ice cream containers with eyes to scare them off,' Ms Hunt said.

'But it doesn’t stop the magpie from swooping. It may not come as close but it will swoop.

'It will protect the head - that’s a main thing.

'I actually suggest people who are walking to wear a wide-brimmed hat or an umbrella. 

'It’s also important to have your eyes protected. This is more about protecting than deterring them.' 

Magpies are also selective when it comes to their targets.

Ms Hunt said research had found there were four kinds of stimulus magpies would attack and they would stick with that one type. 

'There are magpies who will attack people on a motorbike - like posties - or other fast moving vehicles that they consider an animal,' she said.

'Then there’s the magpie that attacks someone on a bike. That’s a fast moving predator not quite as noisy. 

'Then someone who is jogging and then there’s a magpie that will attack someone walking. 

'They will only go for one type. If one goes for a motorbike, it won’t attack someone who’s walking.

'It depends on their experience with a stimulus. They may have had some sort of encounter and think that it’s a threat.'
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