And the winner in the category of ‘The Aussie animal that bloody scares me most’ is … (insert drum-roll here)
Yes – a magpie.
You probably think I’m pulling your leg. I know I took a few liberties with my Creepies and Crawlies post and blurred the line between fact and fiction, but I swear that Aussie magpies in spring will make a grown man squeal like my little nieces (yes you Lilly, Amy and Kelsey!).
Magpies however are very protective of their baby chicks in spring. They feel threatened if you are anywhere near their nest. If you are unlucky enough to be walking or riding a bike within 100 metres of their nest you may get swooped.
Trust me – this is terrifying. Imaging riding along happily when all of a sudden you sense something coming at you fast from overhead. The next thing you know something has hit your helmet. The magpie flies off, only to come swooping back with its beak snapping for another attack. And another one. And another one.
While it might look a bit strange, many cyclists put cable ties on their helmets, sticking out at all angles so that the magpie can’t get close enough to make contact with them.
The strangest, and seemingly most effective thing I’ve ever seen to deter a magpie attack is an afro wig!! I’m not kidding. Have a look at the clip below and see how different magpie helmet adornments fare, including the afro wig.
- The image of the cyclist being swooped is from http://www.bv.com.au/bikes-&-riding/10754/
- All other images are from Wikipedia commons