How to avoid swooping magpies
After a winter that felt more severe and much longer than the first seven we’ve spent in this country, the sun rises earlier, is a bit warmer and sets a bit later.
With spring comes wildflowers that can allegedly be seen from space, depending on how high up you are, greener than green paddocks and ‘varkore’ in their weedy splendour. We also have Jakaranda’s, though I do not know if it is a spring flowering tree?
Another tru-blu Aussie phenomenon that happens in spring is the swooping magpie.
These birds, have a charming sound, but become kamikaze pilots during October.
The daddy magpies go ballistic because they want to protect their nests and young chicks from us. I mean really, what on earth will I do six feet up?
Our first attack by a swooping magpie.
One day the boys and I went to Kalahari Clarkson. We walked. Might have been the first indication – why walk when you can drive?
The next minute a blur of black and white swoops down on one of my offspring. We screamed – more out of shock than any thing else. We picked up a stick as we could see it was making a u-turn to come at us again. It saw the stick and stayed its attack.
When we walked back home I thought, ‘Let’s take a slight detour, and keep closer to the traffic.’
Not-te-dêm! It seems that magpies are descendants of elephants because they do not forget a face! It picked us out and made a bee-line for us.
Two days later we went cycling. Surely a cyclist will be too big and too fast and too intimidating? Nope. Feeding off the adrenaline rush of a new parent who has had too little sleep, the ‘beneukte voël’ came at us again.
We once again did a detour, but it kept abreast of our movements from the rooftop that it went and perched on.
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
Swooping magpies have photographic memories, it seems. And for six weeks of the year they are hell bent on keeping you away from their nests.
There are ways to keep them at bay, I’ve heard, and I have witnessed the funny attempts.
You could carry a stick, you could try different routes (may or may not work.)
Cyclists tie cable ties into their helmets and add toy eyes. The theory goes that the bird is freaked out by eyes looking at him, and that it prefers to get you from behind – Sneaky bugger, that one. This method of toy eyes, works on the assumption that the bird does not know your front from your back. (Mind you, some people… let’s not go there.)
I always say that though Australia lack the big five, they make up for it with their cute and cuddly marsupials, and the bird life that is truly beautiful.
There are however two birds that test my opinion – the crow which sounds like a lamb which throat is about to be slit, and the magpie in spring. And if you ever wondered, yes, ‘die kraaie gaap regtig as dit warm is.’
But other than the redbacks, huntsmen (without the Snowwhite), crows, kamikaze magpies, and some snakes, life’s sweet mate.