Melbourne: A 76-year-old Australian cyclist has died of head injuries while trying to escape from a swooping magpie, according to a media report. The magpie is a native Australian bird that gets aggressive in the Spring around breeding season.
The cyclist suffered head injuries on Sunday when he veered off a path and crashed his bicycle into a fence of Nicholson Park at Woonona, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
He was then thrown to the ground, and suffered serious head injuries. The man was airlifted to Sydney’s St. George Hospital and died in the evening, police said.
The man had been riding alongside the park where locals say a particularly aggressive magpie has been a repeat offender. The Magpie Alert website, which tracks swooping magpies across Australia, shows around eight attacks in the area.
A Wollongong City Council spokesperson said the council would now place more warning signs and decals along the shared pathway. The spokesperson advised people to contact the council directly about any “menacing” magpies.
Magpie swooping season occurs each year across the country in September and October, during Australia’s springtime. The territorial birds begin breeding in August and often swoop to protect their young from perceived threats.
Several other magpie attacks had previously taken place in the park. The Australian magpie is a different species to the European bird with which it shares its name. During mating season, the bird can become aggressive and attack humans crossing its territory.
Earlier this month, a local Sydney council sparked controversy when rangers shot dead a “monster” magpie which had intimidated residents for years, the report said. The “particularly aggressive” bird had attacked several people in the Hills Shire in the city’s north-west, sending some to hospital.