Watch: A magpie chasing a boy on his scooter is like a scene from 'The Birds'

Boy, do I feel silly.

The true grit of your typical Australian pastime.

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Tame ones make quite affectionate and playful pets, though. Lots of YT videos attest to that.


There is a magpie which haunts the paraglider landing zone in Bright, Victoria. At certain times of the year its just normal to get into an air-to-air dogfight with the thing while on final approach.


I don’t understand, why do they attack random people? It doesn’t seem that two passers by with scooters can pose any risk for them.

Its not random people who get attacked. Its anybody who gets close to them, and presumably their nest and young. Lots of animals (and birds, etc) here prey on young birds so I suppose that is the driver for their behavior.


‘’ Whether it’s for sport or out of revenge, this bird is terrorizing an Australian boy’’

A small number, basically the males, become quite aggressive around this time of year (i.e. spring in Australia) as it is nesting season and they become quite territorial around their nests. Otherwise they are quite sociable at other times of the year.

There is a good write up about swooping behaviour on wikipedia:


Thus, “mobbed.” Crows and ravens especially will gang up on perceived threats. It’s a treat to watch them bully eagles and hawks.


At least one eye is reputed to be lost to magpie attack each season.
Some are definitely arse holes and attack everyone, others want nothing to do with you.
They only swoop in nesting season.
Yes, they can be very clever birds.


I understand the solution is to use cable ties to make a “hedgehog” of your bike helmet.
Either that or it is a trick to make tourists look daft.


No, it’s real - I’m getting my helmet ready for spring right now.

Making tourists look daft is just a bonus. Although the spikes do apparently prevent attacks from drop bears (Thylarctos plummetus).


I heard the drop bears are at their worst in the springtime. Everything in Australia wants to kill you except drop bears. DBs just want your bike or scooter.


That’s what I’m saying though. It wasn’t a ganging up. A single crow from a perch just decided that it would pester me. Crows remember individuals that they feel mistreated them and I’m guessing I looked similar enough to someone who chased the wrong crow.

I got attacked by a blue jay once when I was in college. To this day, I have no idea why. I was walking to class, as were dozens of other students. The blue jay didn’t attack anyone else. Just me. It repeatedly swooped down and whacked me in the head. I don’t hate birds, but blue jays are assholes.

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'Nuff said.

When I travelled there to study they had sticks lined up at the school gates for when the magpies got territorial.

Students would take one upon entering school gounds and walk to the studios wielding sticks menacingly while maintaining vigorous eye contact with sky and trees. (Like sharks, magpies are less likely to attack with eye-contact. For real.)

A favourite past-time was to watch out studio windows as ignorant visitors got dive-bombed between the gate and the refuge of the buildings.

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Magpies can remember up to 100 different human faces so if a magpie attacks you and not other people it is personal. The best way to avoid being attacked on a regular route is to feed them, they’ll remember you. I was feeding one moved way then came back to the area 15 years later and this old magpie flew down and started singing to me - same guy!

Super smart, it got to a point with a few I was feeding that they would recognise my car and give me a flying guard of honor as I returned home.


In my case I am usually passing through so there is no history between myself and the magpie. Typically I am out on my bike. Like the time as a teenager that I jumped a fence into the Seventh Day Adventist compound in Nunawading and got attacked by their Guard Magpie.


They have amazing memories for faces, so don’t piss them off. If you feed them they don’t swoop you.


So uh, why were you breaking into a 7th Day Adventist compound?

Not sure if you know Melbourne but there are these short roads between Maroondah Highway and the Ringwood rail line. I was poking around in there on my bike, not really up to anything and at one point I carried it across the line to a cyclone wire fence. The other side of the fence looked like a camping ground, much better than the industrial shittsville back towards the highway so I pushed my bike over it and jumped afterwards.

Then the attack started…

Not much of an excuse I know. I think the reasons were curiosity, boredom, and a lack of interest in the sanctity of other peoples property.

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