Let me steal a few lines off a page that warns people off of magpies in Brisbane, to start off.
"You know it’s spring in Brisbane when you see cyclists with bristling spikes on their bike helmets, or children wearing upside down ice cream containers on their heads. No, it’s not a fashion statement. It’s a sign of magpie nesting season, when the swooping can be a little too close for comfort.
Many cyclists have wobbled or fallen after an unexpected attack from a feathered fiend, but there’s no need to panic. See a 2010 magpie attack hotspots map."
The full article is here, if you are interested in reading further. When I first read this, I was a bit alarmed that we needed something called a Magpie Alert. When I saw nothing on these lines in the coming weeks, I figured it must be another one of those little things that Queenslanders seem to make a big deal out of. Until today, when I was attacked by a couple of magpies myself. Boy, are they vicious. My head still hurts. I had to check twice to make sure I was not bleeding.
The first thing I did on getting home was to log on to the webpage and look at the map. Funny how my suburb is not listed with the magpie alert sign. That explains why I did not get to experience these pesky creatures thus far. I jogged into a lush green park on my way back this morning and voila, there they were. Snuck up from behind me, soundlessly, and went thwack! I felt a sharp, strong knock on my head like someone had thrown a sharp-edged rock at me. I squealed and turned to see the beast of a creature in black and white, fly back on to his tree, with an I-dont-care-for-your-screams expression. I swear I could almost see that on his face... the tilt of his neck, the careless body language, if they is such a thing among birds.
I swore at him and kept walking. Whoosh, he came within seconds... kicking me with his legs but not hurting me that bad. I looked up and there was another guy. What the hell? I decided to turn around and get out of the park. I walked towards the road. Before I knew it, another big rap on my head, nearly missing the soft centre of the top of my head. Fuck, it hurt! I did not even want to stop to look any more, I kept rushing towards the road, away from the trees. Whoosh, another kick. Hell, are they going to keep attacking me? He just attacks me and swoops onto a tree, in full view, as if daring me to question him. Praying that he would not chase me once I was across the road, I crossed and walked real fast, away from the park. I kept turning back to see if he was going to come after me. He did not.
As I walked back home, my head was throbbing. I touched to see if it was bleeding. My had touched damp hair. Shit! One second of panic before I realised it was just sweat. I remembered I had been running. I walked fast, before the sun could worsen my headache. I had a long day ahead of me... filled with work, domesticity, flying kites and what not. A dry leaf fell on my neck, prised by the gentle breeze from the trees above. I squealed, saw the leaf and laughed. Relief. I have had enough bird attacks for the day. I need a break.
Apparently, Australian magpies are protected by some wildlife act or the other and it is an offence to harm them. Read more here. Right now, I'm pissed. I think humans are the ones that need protection from magpies. They should make magpie attacks an offence and put the rowdy birds behind bars!