Around July 26, which is surprisingly early, I had my first magpie strike of the season. A
magpie slammed into my helmet several times out near Mawson Lakes. So out came
the cable ties.
Cable ties sticking up out of the helmet prevent the birds from hitting the rider on the
head. They don’t like flying into the
little forest of twigs. It’s very effective, although it makes the rider look somewhat
strange. A lady once asked me at the traffic lights why I had all this stuff on
my head. I said it was to keep the
aliens away, and she took a step back! I then said it was for magpies, but she
was not convinced, and looked the other way.
Magpies learn. A couple of weeks ago this same magpie, which has been swooping over me
and swearing profusely twice a day, began to fly in from the side, slamming
into my head underneath the cable ties. In response I now have cable ties
sticking out from the side of the helmet. The magpie was reduced to frustrated
swearing and squawking, and I now look like a real idiot.
This morning, at the end of August, the
magpie tried a new tactic. It came in
low and fast, thudding into my shoulder. “Fail,” thought I, amply protected by jacket,
jersey and shirt. That was gloating too soon. It soon became clear the
technique simply needed a little practice. You ricochet off the point of the
shoulder and up into the neck and the earlobe. It’s very effective, it draws
blood, and avoids the cable ties.
So tonight I will have added some more cable ties to droop down over my neck. It’s a pest. They howl in the wind. I look like a prize drongo. But it’s the nicest route home, along creeks
and away from traffic. I don’t want to abandon it. Besides, there are other
magpies on the alternative ways home.