Swooping magpies high on creatures-to-be-wary of list

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swooping magpies scare grey nomads
Swooping magpies loom large in some van parks. PHOTO MONTAGE: Puckster

Most grey nomads are well aware that there are plenty of creatures they may encounter in their travels that they would be wise to be wary of.

Crocodiles, snakes, spiders, and even dingoes, feral pigs and wombats have been known to pose a physical threat to the health and wellbeing of travellers but, at this time of the year, it may actually be swooping birds that present the most likely danger.

While most people may have had a giggle as a feathered protector ‘buzzes’ worryingly close to a human venturing into their domain, the consequences may be no laughing matter.

A 68-year-old man has just suffered serious damage to his eyes after being attacked by a

magpie attack victim in Sale

James Glindemann suffered serious eye injuries in the magpie attack. PIC: Lorraine MacGillvray

magpie in the Victorian town of Sale.

“I sat down at a bench there and the magpie came up and I started talking to it because I like them,” said James Glindemann. “And it looked at me and I didn’t give it any food, so it just attacked me … first it struck my left eye and, when it landed back on the ground, I didn’t drop my food and so it attacked me again in the right eye.”

Mr Glindemann’s injuries were so serious that he had to be flown to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne to undergo surgery.

“It turned out there was no actual damage to the right eyeball itself, but the area around it was very inflamed,” Mr Glindemann said. “But the magpie seems to have penetrated the cornea in my left eye and so the doctors repaired that … I think the procedure took about two hours.”

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) says swooping is a territorial trait of native birds.

“Swooping occurs every year during breeding season and is largely a defensive manoeuvre and for some species, including magpies, this is carried out primarily by males,” said a spokesperson. “Some native birds swoop humans and their dogs to defend their young for the six to eight weeks between when they hatch and when they leave the nest.”

• Have you ever been attacked by a native creature while on your travels? Comment below.

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5 Responses to Swooping magpies high on creatures-to-be-wary of list

  1. Relocate problem birds. No ifs or buts
    Blinded people are a serious consequence from a bird behaving silly

  2. You are not going to like this comment, but the animals were here first , and we came much much later. You have just got to live with them. They give myself and the dog a flogging sometimes when I am out cycling, but I don’t want to harm or relocate them, as their are chicks back in the nest waiting for a feed from them, and will most likely die, if a parent doesn’t come back. Would you kill every spider if one bit you. I was bitten by a funnelweb in Sydney some years back. I did not kill it and don’t want to kill spiders today. Animals have every right to live their lives just like humans and we have no right to interfere with them..

    • Whilst I am not into indiscriminate slaughter of animals, I firmly believe that if any animal (including people) “attacks” me or my family, it is likely to be killed. Whilst Magpie swooping in breeding season can in the main be forgiven, if they attack humans to obtain food they immediately are listed as endangered around me and mine.

  3. Prevention is easier than cure. I always wear sun glasses and a wide brimmed hat when out walking and although I have been swooped I have never had any injuries.

  4. Toxoplasmosis can be transminted by magpies. A lady south of Towoomba contracted toxoplasmosis from a magpie strike Butcher birds can also transmit the disease.

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