‘Only in Australia’: Dramatic moment swooping magpie chases off brown snake

Sep 11, 2019
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A brave bystander has captured the moment an aggressive magpie attacked and chased off a brown snake. Source: Getty

It’s not often you witness another creature take on a large snake – especially a tiny swooping magpie, but a brave bystander has now captured the moment an aggressive magpie attacked and chased off a brown snake in an impressive dual.

In the 50-second video, shared to YouTube last week, the magpie can been seen repeatedly swooping the large snake. The reptile doesn’t put up much of a fight and is then chased into some nearby bushes by the magpie.

And it was just one of two dramatic battles between the creatures this week. In another video, shared to Twitter by morning show Sunrise, a bystander has captured a confrontation between a swooping magpie and a large python.

At one point in the footage, the snake can be seen defending itself against the aggressive magpie as it repeatedly lunges towards the swooping bird. However, the snake eventually gives up and lays low until the bird finally loses interest and flies away.

Many people have commented on the video, with one writing: “Only in Australia.” While another jokingly added: “No one is safe.” Meanwhile a third wrote: “I’d rather the bloody snake over the magpie.”

Magpie swooping season has started early this year as the number of bird-related attacks has begun to rack up all over the country. Magpie Alert, a website designed to track and record attacks Australia-wide, has mapped out magpie hotspots around the country and Queensland has seen the most attacks so far this year, making up 37.9 per cent of all in 2019.

Areas across the state that have recorded swooping magpies include Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, New South Wales isn’t far behind on 20.2 per cent, with recent attacks occurring in Sydney, Wollongong and Bathurst. Victoria has made up 19.4 cent of all attacks, with recent attacks occurring in Melbourne.

There’s only been a small number in the ACT (14.2 per cent), with areas including Canberra, Gordon, Curtin and Ngunnawal all noticing magpies have started swooping, while South Australia (6.3 per cent) and Western Australia (2 per cent) have only recorded a small number of attacks so far. There have been no recorded attacks yet in  the Northern Territory.

While magpies are generally innocent creatures for most of the year, most Australians know that the birds can become particularly vicious when protecting their young. Many people do their best to protect themselves by walking different routes, wearing helmets and goggles and staying away from swooping birds during Spring.

To date, 1,159 attacks have already occurred, while 140 people have reported injuries after being swooped by a magpie. According to the site, magpies are actually protected in Australia, meaning it’s against the law for anyone to intentionally harm or kill a magpie, their young or to collect their eggs.

Instead, concerned residents can contact their local council if birds are becoming increasingly aggressive, while Aussies can also report attacks on the magpie alert website to inform others in the community.  “Swooped by three magpies while outside our house,” a concerned user from Mount Saint Thomas in Wollongong warned.

“We are a family with young children. When I went outside I heard the magpie calls. Then I saw a shadow shortly after three magpies returned. At this time my oldest 3 year old, was swooped on the arm and has a bruise from one of the magpie.”

The website recommends keeping alert, travelling in groups and to wear sun glasses and a hat to stay protected throughout the magpie swooping season. 

Have you seen a dual between Aussie animals like this? Have you been attacked by either?

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