VIDEO: Terror from above in Gympie streets
SO SERIOUS is the fear of being swooped by a territorial magpie parent each spring, an official website has been established so Australians can let each others know the streets and sites in their communities to avoid at this time of year.
In Gympie those streets and sites include Pine St, Shanks St, Henry St/Alfred St, Waldock Rd, Johnstone Rd, Watson Rd, Tozer St, Drummond Dr, Wises Rd, Kidd Bridge, Caledonian Hill, Albert Park, Leprechaun Park and Cartwright Rd. Bridge St in Kilkivan was another one added as a hotspot.
So far in Australia this spring, and recorded on www.magpiealert.com there have been 1264 magpie attacks resulting in 146 injuries.
The site was started by Jon Clarke, a 40-something husband and father who builds commercial websites and is based in Sydney.
The site is peppered with horror stories of being attacked and various safety tips and advice.
By far the most magpie attacks happen in Queensland - almost 40 per cent according to magpiealert.com. And 70 per cent of the attacks were made on cyclists.
Journalist Philippe Coquerand and photographer Troy Jegers drove to Shanks St yesterday, where joggers and walkers are getting swooped.
Equipped with a safety hat and a high-vis shirt, Mr Coquerand sacrificed his safety for his craft, and went through that fear that is almost a Queensland rite of passage - getting swooped by a magpie.
A tourist who was minding her business when she was actually hit by a magpie. She was startled and stopped on the side of the road.
The magpie returned seconds later and hit her again until she decided running away was the better option (see the video on www.gympietimes.com).
Safety tips to follow:
Pay attention and keep alert for magpie nesting sites.
Make sure to travel in groups as magpies will often target individuals.
Wear sun glasses and a hat to protect your head and eyes.
If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat or carry an umbrella.
Do not provoke the magpies, they are very territorial and will protect their nests.