Have you seen the movie "The Birds"? Alfred Hitchcock must have gotten the idea for it after visiting Australia in the springtime. The usual suspects are magpies, which swoop with vengeance during the mating season. Their vicious swooping lasts for about a week. The only real solution is to avoid them the best you can, be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat and don't look up at them to provide a facial target for beak and claws. Fun!
Yesterday, Markus was the victim of a surprise kamikaze attack from a wattle bird as he attempted to leave the house for work in the morning. He always cycles to work. He always parks his bike in the same place. Wattle birds are very territorial (usually with other birds), but Markus wasn't in any new territory, so the whole thing was rather odd. Even more odd was noticing throughout the day that our resident wattle bird attacked cyclists going up the road. It literally chased them all the way to the end of the road, swooping and snapping the entire way until they turned the corner. Then, it flew back to one of the trees around our house and calmly observed its domain. Careful observation has led to this very strange conclusion: the bird is not swooping the cyclists themselves; the bird is attacking the bikes! Thankfully, it has no interest in pedestrians, so the girls are safe in the yard as long as they don't touch any of the bicycles. We can only take the advice of wearing hats, keeping our faces down, and hoping it stops soon. The whole thing is really crazy and not a little maddening for the people on bikes (Markus included!). Just in case you are disinclined to believe me, I captured this morning's attempt to leave for work:
Just one more item for the "Life is different Down Under" list!
No, Markus's arm isn't injured. He is holding at his side in what I assume is his best attempt not to whack the bird for all it's worth. It really is quite unpleasant to be dive-bombed repeatedly by a psychotic bird.