magpieThere are few birds that are as familiar to Australians as the Australian Magpie. They are a large species of butcherbird. There are few places in Australia where magpies do not occur. They have a pleasant carolling song, which is an essential part of the Australian soundscape, and sometimes a tendency to swoop at people during the springtime nesting season.

In some locations, where swooping magpies are a serious issue, cyclists have taken to covering their helmets with cable ties that poke up in all directions (they end up looking something like a porcupine or echidna). This does seem to prevent the magpies from actually smacking you in the head as you cycle past. Luckily in my area the magpies don’t seem to feel threatened enough to attack.


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