Totally Over Magpies

Labcanary

One potato, two potato, click
I've been watching those dagger-beaks lately. We pass at least 3 nests on the way to my son's school. So far we haven't been swooped, but today I saw two magpies knock a crow out of the air and then they held it down to peck at it. It was really intense.
I have trained the toddler to duck his head if I say "duck", that way his face is down and I can cover his body (we got swooped last year and it scared him). I'm not sure what to do about my eldest son, maybe get him to wear his full face helmet?
 

Isildur

The Real Pedant
If you have to ride a Swoopie Bird of Doom route, I still swear by the ham method. Many years ago I commuted through a double Magpie route, where my options were to pedal like fuck, or find another solution. Alas there really wasn't any way around that didn't involve an extra 10km or so.

I read through the interwebs that they had brilliant memories and could remember "faces" (which, incidentally was just confirmed when we visited the Alice Springs Desert Park last month, they have great memories for an image of a person or bird), as well as remember those which were threat or non-threat. So one week, just before I got to each Magpie Zone, I would get off my bike and start to walk through. As the bird started to swoop on the first day, I stopped, pulled out the magic of cold meats and tossed a bit on the ground in a gesture of good-will (or of absolute fear and desperation...). I did this for the rest of the week, and by the Friday, both birds flew down, but instead of swooping just let me by un-attacked. I rode for another 2 years through those sections without grief.

That was almost a decade ago now, and while I don't run that route anymore, I've still got the same helmet and commute kit (I know, it's pretty threadbare) and I reckon old birdies would recognise me.

In hindsight, supermarket ham might not have been the best option, but as they're omnivores, I gather it didn't do them too much harm. Next time I'll crack out the left over eye filet and really make a friend for life.
 

ForkinGreat

Random Krishna
I've been watching those dagger-beaks lately. We pass at least 3 nests on the way to my son's school. So far we haven't been swooped, but today I saw two magpies knock a crow out of the air and then they held it down to peck at it. It was really intense.
I have trained the toddler to duck his head if I say "duck", that way his face is down and I can cover his body (we got swooped last year and it scared him). I'm not sure what to do about my eldest son, maybe get him to wear his full face helmet?
sunnies and a hat?
 

Labcanary

One potato, two potato, click
I swear by googly eyes stuck to the back of the helmet.

Haven't been swooped for a couple of years now.

Sent from my M2012K11AG using Tapatalk
I wondered about those. For the price of a few stickers I'll give it a go.
 

Jpez

Knows which side his bread is butthurt
I wondered about those. For the price of a few stickers I'll give it a go.
There was some highly scientific you tube test where the YT scientist tried all known methods. Apparently nothing really works, Google eyes, zip ties, riding faster. Only getting off your bike and facing off seemed to work. Which in my braver moments I tried and it worked. Obviously that’s not going to work with the three of you though.
They are way too smart to be fooled by googly eyes but worth a shot.
maybe the making friends thing is worth a go if it’s the only route and they get too swoopy.
I’ve been swooped once and another clack clack on the helmet so far this year. I just shrink my head into my body turtle style and shriek in terror and try and ride faster. (Doesn’t work)
Doesn’t help with your kiddos though.
 

Labcanary

One potato, two potato, click
There was some highly scientific you tube test where the YT scientist tried all known methods. Apparently nothing really works, Google eyes, zip ties, riding faster. Only getting off your bike and facing off seemed to work. Which in my braver moments I tried and it worked. Obviously that’s not going to work with the three of you though.
They are way too smart to be fooled by googly eyes but worth a shot.
maybe the making friends thing is worth a go if it’s the only route and they get too swoopy.
I’ve been swooped once and another clack clack on the helmet so far this year. I just shrink my head into my body turtle style and shriek in terror and try and ride faster. (Doesn’t work)
Doesn’t help with your kiddos though.
That's pretty much my response too.
We have some magpies nesting in a tree on our fence line, they are used to us being there and we leave grubs out for them, so we've never had issues. Maybe I need to carry baggies of grubs for out and about. I'll be the Magpie's local grub dealer :cool::D

I'll see myself out...
 

beeb

Dr. Beebenson, PhD HA, ST, Offset (hons)
The recommendation if going with the feeding/treats approach is normally to try and get them used to you outside of the breeding season, otherwise you risk the more aggressive specimens starting to associate swooping/pecking with being rewarded with food. But yes, they are very good at remembering faces - so show them some love year round and you'll (probably) be granted free passage.
 

ForkinGreat

Random Krishna
Hat on top of his helmet?

Thanks for the reminder about sunnies. Both kids have a pair they can use.
Right, wasn't thinking whilst 'on the bike', just generally.
Those swoopy bastards have been known to take peoples' eyes out, on occasion.

something to protect ears and neck would be good. Are those cloth caps with a flap down the neck and at the sides still a thing for young school kids?
may not fit under the helmet though?? thermal skull caps are good while the weather is still on the cold side.
 

Cardy George

Piercing rural members since 1981
We had an XL Mr Potato head, the one that held 3 or 4 normal Potato Heads inside it, so I cable tied the 5cm tall eyes from that to the back of my helmet. That definitely worked. They still swooped but never came close enough to make contact.

But then the kids grew out of it so Mrs George donated it and decreed it only fair the eyes went with it. Still looking for a solution.
 

Fred Nurk

Likes Dirt
For reasons I cannot fathom I've never seen magpies up here.
The swoopy bastards are definitely up on the tablelands though.
 
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