Cable tie tactics help keep magpies at bay

INCREASING numbers of cyclists are adopting space helmet technology in the relentless war against the swooping magpie.

Despite the name, the idea of the space helmet is not that sophisticated.

It involves tying a pair of cable ties to the air holes of the bicycle helmet, allowing the ends to protrude at the top like a pair of antennae.

Avid Ipswich cyclist Rod James said he first saw a space helmet a few years ago and at first wasn't sure of the idea behind it.

“I saw someone else doing it about two years ago and wondered what it was all about,” Mr James said.

“Then I decided to try it.

“It costs about $5 for a packet of zip ties and it works really well; the magpies still swoop but they keep their distance a bit more - they baulk at the spiky bits.”

The State Government is now promoting the cheap solution as a way for Queenslanders to stay safe from protective magpies without have to harm the birds.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said the best approach was to stay clear of swooping magpies if possible.

“If you must enter the area, move through it quickly, but don't run,” Ms Jones said.

“Cyclists should dismount and walk through magpie territory.”

The male magpie is responsible for most swoops, which it usually only does in response to a perceived threat to its chicks.

The defence zone is usually within about a 100m radius of the nest.

Mr James said the local swooping hotspot was outside the City View Hotel, which was inhabited by the “most vicious magpie in Ipswich”.

Another cranky little fellow is known to patrol the intersection of Chermside Road and Jacaranda Street, near the shops.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) will not remove magpies, although in some areas there are contractors who will perform this service.

More information is available at or by calling DERM on 1300 130 372.

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