Maggie swoop fear has me in a flap
MY mates will give me flak for this but here goes — I have an irrational fear of being swooped by magpies.
I don’t know what’s caused it but in recent months the fear has intensified during my daily walks between the Addy office and my car.
The black and white critters have taken up their positions along Bellerine St in town, between Mundy St and McKillop St.
If I’m ever going to be swooped then this is where it will happen.
Fauna experts say birds swoop when they feel threatened. But I’m the least threatening person I know.
Despite their size, magpies seem ever ready to attack with aggressive stares their resting expression.
I don’t know why but magpies aren’t scared away by my presence in the same way their cousins the pigeon and seagull are.
My uneasiness around magpies has grown in recent time to such a degree that even hearing their warbles has me on edge. I’m happy to give magpies a go, but they need to work with me and lighten up a bit. I’ve thought the magpies in Geelong are just ultra aggressive due to a bit of a hangover of protectiveness from their breeding season which is between August and October. It’s even crossed my mind to wear a helmet adorned with cable ties to protect myself from possible swoops. For so long I thought the men and women who wore cable ties on their helmets were committing the most horrendous fashion faux pas, but recent experience has given me perspective, and I now understand why they choose to wear this sort of protection.
The Department of Environment, Land and Planning say birds may be less likely to swoop if they think you are watching them and recommend drawing a pair of eyes and attaching them to the back of hats and helmets. For me that’s a bit over the top.
I’ve walked different routes to work but magpies just seem to follow me.
According to emeritus professor in animal behaviour Gisela Kaplan, magpies remember and recognise human faces and remember them for years.
So maybe my ticket to avoid being swooped is laying out a Hansel-and-Gretel style trail of breadcrumbs to keep the magpies happy.