What deters magpies from swooping? And what stops them?
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  • Magpies swooping seson is in the spring around the Grand Final weekend of the AFL or as late as Melbourne Cup Day.
  • Swooping happens to protect the magpies's territory when it feels its nest is threatened during nesting season.
  • This can end up with can result in skin injuries, eye injuries and sometimes chunks of flesh being removed through contact with claws or beak, to that unlucky person in the magpies territory.
  • Unfortunately people have even died from magpie swooping attacks, such as losing control of their bicycle after a swooping attack to the temple.
  • Steps to help people from being swooped:
1. Be vigilant.Pay attention to nesting areas of magpies.
2. Tell others. Tell the local council of magpie nesting in your area.
3. Never harass magpies. A magpie who has experienced harassment will not trust humans. Do not throw rocks or other things at a nest, do not climb a tree and try to remove magpie chicks from the nest and do not provoke the magpies in any way, such as swinging clothes around in the air near them or similar fast-moving and threatening actions.
4. Take evasive action. If you find yourself walking or riding through magpie swooping territory and it is too late to back out, take evasive measures to protect yourself:
Keep calm
Walk fast, dont run
Keep your eyes on the magpie
If you are on your bicycle or horse, dismount.
Aim:
To determine what stops magpies from swooping you on your bike.
Materials and Equipment:
Helmet, Textas, Milk Bottle Lids, Wire, Paper, Blue Tack, Cable Ties.
Hemet 1 Normal Helmet with nothing attached to it.
Helmet 2 Wire tied to the helmet with colorful milk bottle lids on top.
Helmet 3 Big eyes drawn onto paper stuck on to the helmet with blue tack.
Helmet 4 Helmet with cable Ties attached.

Method:
Ride up and back along a street to the dirt road at the same pace where the magpies almost always swoops people and record the number of swoops.
Results:

Helmet
Times swooped going up road
Times swooped going down road
Total times swooped
Helmet 1
0
2
2
Helmet 2
1
0
1
Helmet 3
0
0
0
Helmet 4
0
1
1



helmet1.jpghelmet2.jpg
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Discussion:
I made sure that I went the same distance each time I rode, and tried to keep at the same pace. The experiments were done towards the end of the magpies swooping season which made the adult magpies not be so protective with their young because they were older and more able to look after themselves. So if the experiments were conducted in the middle of the swooping season the results might have been different. Over all there weren’t that many magpies, only really the magpie that we have trouble with every season. The results were different to what I had expected because I thought that helmet 2 would have kept the magpies away when helmet 3 was the most effective.
Conclusion:
Helmet 3 was the most effective helmet from my testing. The results of the experiment might differ due to the time of year the test was conducted, weather conditions and the aggression of the magpie toward humans.