Northern Star journalist and Lismore Echo columnist, Alison Paterson.
Northern Star journalist and Lismore Echo columnist, Alison Paterson. Alison Paterson

Love you dear magpie but when I'm on the bike?

BEING swooped by a magpie is up there with finding a large huntsman spider in the shower.

It's one of equal terror as far as I'm concerned.

Although one is dressed when cycling and a heck of a lot less likely to suffer a spider bite on your ear as it leaps off the shower head, on the other hand, when you are washing your hair you probably are not wearing cleats attached to a bicycle going at 20km/h and so crash into a nearby tree trying to avoid a beak sticking in your eye.

Gentle reader, I have suffered both and I have to confess the Gymnorhina tibicen wins on points against the Heteropoda jugulans, although it was a close call.

Yes, yes, I understand the magpies are just doing their job of keeping strange humans away from their nests, but I do wish they would warble to each other when they see people they know are leaving home.

The Kiltman and I have several friendly magpies who call our garden home.

In summer we give them a shower when they dance under our sprinkler and we feed them curl grubs and other caterpillars when the Feather Riot is not looking.

A couple of the black and white birds even follow me around the garden when I'm mowing and enjoy the insects which get dispersed in the grass.

So why when I set of for a ride, can't they simply inform the local bush telegraph that their harmless person is out and about and means no harm?

The alternative of course is to put plastic cable ties on my helmet and look as though I'm trying out for the velo version of Mad Max.

Another good result of the rain is fewer magpies are out and about.

But rather than come a cropper on the wet roads, I'm sticking to the indoor trainer.

It's not as much fun as riding outdoors, but there's no magpies causing havoc.

And spiders beware.


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