WINGED FURY: Map shows where Gympie magpies will swoop you
WINGED fury. Whispering death. Devils with feathers.
For nine months of the year, magpies and humans live peacefully alongside each other, but the turn of spring has Gympie residents ducking for cover and uttering curses as swooping season begins.
While the Department of Environment and Science pointed to studies showing "less than 10 per cent of magpies are aggressive towards humans", a number of hotspots around Gympie have already been identified.
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Wises Rd at One Mile, Tozer Park Rd, Parsons Rd, Glanmire St, Columbia St, Mellor St and O'Connell St head the list of Gympie swoop zones, with one local cyclist stating he had already clashed with protective parents "everywhere".
Council St and Rose St at Kilkivan and the triple intersection of Johns Rd, Pritchard Rd and Juliane St on the Southside have also been reported as danger zones.
A DES spokesperson said there were "several ways" for people to defend themselves.
"Sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats and umbrellas, or even holding a stick in the air ... may help. Some cyclists find attaching cable ties to their helmets can deter aggressive magpies," the spokesperson said. "If cyclists find they are being swooped regularly at the same part of their normal route, they are encouraged to dismount from their bikes and walk to see if this helps.
"If possible, pedestrians and cyclists should try taking a different route until the magpie chicks have left the nest and the swooping ceases."
The spokesperson said attempts to "fight back ... can further aggravate the bird", while they would only be relocated by licensed professionals if their behaviour was "causing concern".
"Magpies are a protected species in Queensland and any interference or unpermitted relocation of a magpie is prohibited."
1075 attacks and 124 injuries around Australia have been reported so far this season via Magpie Alert.
More information on living with magpies is available on the DES website at http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/livingwith/magpies.html