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'Tis the season for a spike in swoopings

Date

Gang-gang

A cyclist along Northbourne Ave today takes the scaring of magpies away to the extreme.

A cyclist along Northbourne Ave today takes the scaring of magpies away to the extreme. Photo: Colleen Petch

No extravagant hat worn by a damsel to this spring's Melbourne Cup will be quite so spectacular as the magpie-repelling helmet seen on a Canberra cyclist yesterday morning.

Canberra Times photographer Colleen Petch captured the wearer shimmering along Northbourne Avenue.

He wouldn't stop so there was no way of asking him how well the bristling headgear works.

This is a trying season for human-magpie relations and so a good time to read Judith Wright's sweet poem Magpies to remind us how lovable the species is for most of the year.

It opens:

Along the road the magpies walk

with hands in pockets, left and right.

They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.

In their well-fitted black and white.

Gang-gang is a column by Canberra Times journalist Ian Warden

2 comments

  • I will ride my bike through the coldest winter morning, but I refuse when the magpies start swooping!

    Commenter
    AS
    Date and time
    September 04, 2012, 11:43AM
    • I still laugh when I see people wearing these cable tie contraptions. Some person years ago decided he'd pull a prank and see if it would catch on. It's like putting a bottle of water on your front lawn to stop dogs peeing and crapping on it. It doesn't work! Some ANU boffins did a study a few years back and involved a very protective magpie on campus. They tried the cable tie helmet...swooped and the helmet with eyes....swooped. They seemed to make the bird angrier. Then they tried it without the helmet...nothing. The bird wasn't interested at all. Seems that helmets pi55 magpies off other than knobs with cable ties attached to their helmets. From memory it was posted on You Tube.

      Commenter
      emvee
      Date and time
      September 04, 2012, 9:13PM
      Comments are now closed
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