22 Nov 22 | By pp-admin
Apparently, it’s almost Summer. And you know what that means … cyclists can safely go about their commuting, rides to get to the shops and social rides without fear of the magpie menace.
Beloved by many for most of the year, magpies – at least the aggressive ones – are definitely an unwelcome addition to our Spring rides. As nearly 70 per cent of magpie swooping attacks are on cyclists, it’s no wonder the topic of magpie attacks is one of the most common conversation topics amongst Canberra cyclists in springtime.
At the end of Spring last year, with the help of Magpie Alert, Pedal Power was able to settle some of the myths and arguments of when the ‘season’ started and whether magpies were swooping more than usual. Magpie Alert is a crowd-sourced magpie locator on which anyone can record where a magpie swoop occurs. And anyone can search their area to find where and when magpie attacks have been recorded.
What does the Magpie Alert data tell us this year?
Across Australia, this Spring showed a slightly different pattern, starting and peaking later, with a shorter total season and less attacks recorded overall. This year, Australian weekly attack counts peaked around 19th September (with 469 attacks), in comparison with the 6-year average peaking a week earlier (with 680 attacks). Fortunately, the vast majority of recorded attacks (over 80%) do not involve injury and this has stayed fairly consistent over time.Courtesy of Your Magpie Attack Statistics for the 2022 Season (magpiealert.com)
The ACT recorded just over 18% of all magpie attacks in Australia this year. Although the ACT continues to record more attacks per capita than other states, the overall count was well down this year – with a total of just under 600 attacks recorded, in comparison with over 1,100 in 2021. As to why there were less recorded attacks in the ACT this year, opinions vary. Our inclement weather is often blamed. That is, for keeping cyclists off their bikes, not magpies from attacking as they are out and about come rain, hail or shine!
Whatever the reason for less magpie attacks this Spring, one thing’s for sure: it’s time to put your fears aside and get back to appreciating magpies for the beautiful song birds they are for the rest of the year.