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An Aussie Magpie
Photograph: Naparrazi/Unsplash

This interactive map will help you avoid magpie attacks this swooping season

Terror from above is a springtime calling card in Sydney. Here's how to avoid getting pecked

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Written by
Rebecca Russo
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Question: what do you think is the average Australian’s biggest fear come springtime? Is it the imminent onslaught of pollen about to hit our nostrils? The realisation that it’s already three-quarters of the way through the year and we haven’t made a dint on those new year’s resolutions? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that aggressive, dive-bombing magpies have it out for the tops of our unsuspecting heads this time of year. 

Yep, welcome to magpie swooping season, my friends.

Swooping season kicks into gear from late August to early October, which coincidentally ties into magpie breeding season. Because of this they’re ferociously protective of their nests and will stop at nothing to ward off any suspecting passers-by.  

Avoiding swooping has become quite the art form – pedestrians have turned to putting cut out eyes on the back of their hats and cyclists have thrown a couple spikes in their helmets to deter belligerent birds. It’s madness.

But is there another way to avoid magpie attacks? Well, it helps to have an ally by your side. Case in point: this website devoted to tracking magpies around town. 

Magpie Attack asks users to record magpie swoops on a map in an effort to pre-warn others about dangerous birds in their area. You can input your location, the date/time, what activity was taking place and whether an injury resulted.

As well as the comprehensive attack maps, Magpie Attack’s blog features stories of survival (“I faced off against the M7 magpie and won!”), tips on magpie proofing (apparently holding a golf club above your head does wonders for avoiding attacks, not so much for overall convenience however) and even an erroneous post about how magpies “are not your enemy!” (nice try Mr Shmagpie).

Have a search for your area and stay safe out there guys.

I ain't afraid of no 'pie? Head to one of Sydney's best parks or hike untethered by a helmet on one of Sydney's best walking tracks.

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