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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In early spring, many Australians start scanning the skies for a crazy black and white bundle of feathers.
It's coming into breeding season for the Australian magpie ( Gymnorhina tibicen) .......

and when it is breeding season this normally friendly bird turns ....
into a crazed attacker !

When you are walking innocently along the street, you never know when one of these crazed magpies will swoop and attack.
They are fiercely protecting their nest.
It doesn't matter if you are young or old, no-one is safe from the magpie !

Kids walking home from schyool.......

Postmen are a particular target.
There are even signs out in park areas to warn people when there is a particularly crazy one around.

People design and wear all sorts of protective hats.

 Many of us have childhood memories of aggressive magpies.

A national survey has found that 90 per cent of males and 72 per cent of females have been attacked by a magpie at some time in their life!

 There are hundreds of video clips like this one on youtube showing magpies attacking.
Like this

or this

Luckily the breeding season only lasts for about six weeks then the magpies go back to being the lovely birds whose fantastic songs so typify the Australian outdoors.



  1. It's funny and awful at the same time! Such pretty birds, too. I guess you learn to duck rather quickly, eh? :-)

  2. A timely reminder as there are a couple of crazed magpies along the Noosa River at Noosaville. I haven't seen them swooping this year, yet, but I will keep my eyes open. It's not fun being attacked by one.
    I have magpies here on my property and they never swoop and attack.

  3. Wow! I am glad our magpies don't do that! Sounds really scary. Mind you we do occasionally hear of rogue seagulls attacking people and even swooping down and snatching their ice creams as they stroll along the beach. At least you know it won't go on for ever don't you?!

    Jane x

  4. Well well! We have magpies here but not like that!
    I like the drawings, by the way.
    I see what Marigold Jam says. My friend and her hubby were sitting on a bench in Cornwall eating Cornish Pasties when a seagull swooped down and swiped the hubby's pasty clean away.

  5. We hate magpies here because they terrorise other birds but I've never heard of them attacking people. Love the helmets - have you got one too? Do post the pic!!

  6. Glad our Magpies aren't like that! But the ones that come to my garden always pinch the food from the bird feeder first!
    Julie xxxxxxx

  7. I can honestly say I have never been swooped but I know people who have been . My dad used to have a pet magpie. Most of the time they are tame and sweet but about this time of year they do go crazy.

    Thanks for the timely reminder!

  8. What a fun and interesting posting. I have only heard about these beastie birdies. Love the hats you all make. Too funny.

  9. How interesting! I wonder if Alfred Hitchcock used magpies in his old movie The Birds? It looks as if they can be quite intimidating.

  10. OOh I know that film was awlful so frightening and so were your pictures!
    Love to you Suex

  11. I had no idea that magpies could be so menacing! Thanks for the comments about my scarf - it's dead easy to do. You need two yarns - one DK (I used a silk yarn) and one lace 2ply mohair. You knit 2 rows using DK yarn on 4mm needles, and then 2 rows of 2 ply mohair on 10mm needles, and just carry the yarn you're not using up the side. Start with the DK yarn and cast off with that too! Easy!

  12. Gosh I remember being chased by them as a child. Mum used to give us a plastic ice cream container to wear on our heads! We must have looked quite silly, but I was terrified of magpies swooping!

  13. Goodness Helsie, what mayhem - it's like 'The Birds'! I'm glad they're not quite that menacing over here although they do terrorise our lovely songbirds.

    Hopefully their reign of terror will soon be over for another year:-)!


  14. I remember being attacked as a kid - and also have a photo of my son when he was little (about 30 yrs ago!) - with an ice-cream container on his head! Living in the suburbs of Brisbane (more recently) we had a family of magpies who nested in one of our trees each year and they never attacked us. They would even bring their young ones down to be hand fed. The young magpie is grey in colour.