Doctor issues warning amid magpie swooping season after man was pecked in the eye
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Yes, spring has officially sprung.
You know that means: warm weather, Aperol Spritz for all, and these little assassins expected to swoop at any given moment.
And these birds can do some damage. One magpie swooped on a Melbourne cyclist so badly that it prompted him to receive eye surgery.
Christiaan Nyssen fell victim to the magpie while riding in Yarrawonga.
After Nyssen was pecked in the eye - yes, pecked - Epworth Freemasons eye surgeon, Dr Elvis Ojaimi, implanted an imported prosthetic iris and lens to fix his damaged eye.
Thankfully, he made a full recovery following the operation.
But Dr Ojaimi said people must still be vigilant during the swooping season.
"I think sunglasses, particularly wraparound sunglasses, are very important," Ojaimi told 9News.
Excuse me while I express order a bundle of sunnies.
Be warned, people, as magpies are also injuring cyclists wearing helmets.
"A lot of magpies have learned not to attack the head but they attack the back and they'll get around a helmet," Bird veterinarian Dr Adrian Gallagher also told the news outlet.
During this time, magpies build their nests and care for their babies while protecting them from perceived threats entering their designated area.
The swooping lasts for around six weeks as mama birds try to watch over their youngens.
But rest assured, only about 10 per cent of magpies actually swoop.
Still, we must be careful if one of the not-so-innocent little birdies decides to charge.
Professor of wildlife ecology and conservation biology at the University of New England, Dr Karl Vernes, told The New Daily that people should maintain eye contact with the bird when passing.
“Just maintain eye contact with the bird, and if it does swoop you when you’re looking at it, which can happen but it’s much rarer, just throwing your arms up in the air as the bird’s in mid-flight is enough to disturb it and frighten it back to a tree,” he said.
However, if a magpie decides to attack, Sean Dooley, the national public affairs manager at Birdlife Australia, recommends placing your hands over your head.
“Waving your arms around or a stick or something is only going to make the bird more angry, so the best thing to do is walk, not run, away from the area,” he told Sydney Morning Herald.
May we also suggest a wide-brimmed hat? Hell, throw in an umbrella too.