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Magpies in New Zealand

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WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Magpies in New Zealand

with my girlfriend we are about to start a tandem bike tour around the South Island and we have been told recently that we should be aware of the possibility of magpies attacks.
Do you reckon they really represent a threat for cyclists? If so how do you suggest to protect ourselves?

Cheers, Thomas

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
They are a problem for

They are a problem for cyclists but they have stopped attacking in the North Island for a few weeks now. Their nesting period may be a few weeks behind in the South Island but it should be over by the time you cycle. I have done several cycle tours in the South Island in December and have never been attacked. In fact, I can't recall magpies being very common in the south compared to the north.

The attacks are usually a problem of being surprised by the first attack. Most magpies do not actuallly hit your head when they attack but come quite close and make a snapping noise with their wings. Some have learnt to come closer and hit you, sometimes drawing blood with beak or claws. Once you are aware of a magpie, looking back at it will stop it attacking since they always attack from behind. This may not be a good way to deal with them if you cannot keep a straight line while looking back.

Some have suggested large stick-on eyes on the back of the helmet or cable ties sticking up from the helmet to stop them coming too close.

I don't think you need to take any precautions at this time of the year.
gives a look at ways of dealing with attacks but most are ineffectual.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
There are a lot of tips on
WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Sweet as

Thanks for your reply, we won't take more precaution, our gears are heavy enough anyway!
And apparently they don't attack group of cyclists, so we hope that we the tandem, the trailer and the flag on it we will be scary enough...
Cheers, Thomas and Emilie

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
We have been attacked when

We have been attacked when riding in a group so this advice is not always true.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Magpies in New Zealand

Yep, but its nothing to worry about. I had cycled across the states in 1992, and a policeman in portland, oregon gave me a police cap with gold lettering. Whilst cycling round the side of lake taupo with the cap on my head back to front i suddenly had a magpie land on the back of my head, trying to get the gold lettering. A mauri woman saw this, we got chatting. and she invited me to stay for christmas, so i'm glad mr magpie paid me a visit, as i had a home from home for christmas 1992. there you go. have a lovely trip.

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