Magpie season: Man recalls terrifying attack in Raymond Terrace, NSW Hunter region

‘I thought they were friendly’: Man’s terrifying encounter moments after he bragged he’d never been attacked by a magpie

  • Frightening encounter with magpie left a man physically and mentally scared
  • Michael Murdoch thought the birds were friendly before he was attacked 
  • Bragged to his mates he’d been never been attacked before, who filmed incident
  • 1874 Australians reported being swooped so far in 2022 with 240 injuries

A young man who boasted to his mates about having never been swooped by a magpie was left red-faced aftr he was relentlessly attacked by the bird just moments later. 

Michael Murdoch last week learned the hard way that magpie season in Australia is in full flight. 

He was walking along a path near his Raymond Terrace in the NSW Hunter region, when he was suddenly swooped from above.

Footage shows him ducking for cover before falling to the ground as the bird continues to surround and attack him as he tries to evade it.

Mr Murdoch initially thought magpies were friendly birds and had boasted to his mates moments earlier that he’d never been swooped.

He now has a different view of magpies after his close encounter.

Michael Murdoch (pictured) won't be bragging to his mates again anytime soon

Michael Murdoch (pictured) won’t be bragging to his mates again anytime soon

‘I felt this gust of wind on the back of my head and I heard this massive clap,’ he told Seven News.

‘It was on like Donkey Kong.

‘I started screaming and running. I’m screaming for my life.’

His friends filmed the entire incident and can be heard laughing in the background.

They are also familiar with the magpie. 

‘It was just really aggressive, it always has been,’ one friend said.

Another added: ‘Every season it’s back, swooping us and attacking kids.’ 

On top of a bruised ego, an emotionally traumatised Mr Murdoch also suffered cuts and scratches to his stomach and legs.

‘I can tell you one thing, I’m scared of them now,’ he said.

Michael was walking down a path near his home when he was swooped

He was floored by the aggressive magpie

This s**t gave me some serious PSTD,’ Michael captioned the footage on Facebook afterwards

Already at least 1874 Australians have reported being swooped on which has resulted in 240 injuries so far in 2022, according to online tracker Magpiealert.

With numbers rising sharply in recent weeks, wildlife experts have offered advice on how to get through the magpie breeding season unscathed.

Magpies breed between August and November every year, and it is the protection of their young with results in protective swooping behaviour.

Most magpies that swoop are male – easily identified by their white backs – who are simply defending their nests and hatchlings from danger.

It’s estimated only 10 per cent of magpies actually swoop, usually within the 50m-100m vicinity of their nests.

Moments earlier, Michael Murdock (pictured during the arrack) boasted to his mates he'd never been attacked by a magpie

Moments earlier, Michael Murdock (pictured during the arrack) boasted to his mates he’d never been attacked by a magpie

Australian National University’s Research School of Biology recently compiled a guide on how to survive the magpie season unscathed. 

If you’ve been swooped on multiple times on different days in the same area, chances are it’s the same magpie.

‘Magpies can recognise individual faces,’ Dr Chaminda Ratnayake said.

‘Once they identify a single person as a threat, there may be a tendency to swoop or attack them during the breeding season close to the nesting area.’ 

The dreaded magpie swooping season is full swing with almost 650 reports attacked so far during the 2022 season. Pictured is a cyclist's recent terrifying encounter

The dreaded magpie swooping season is full swing with almost 650 reports attacked so far during the 2022 season. Pictured is a cyclist’s recent terrifying encounter

Dr Ratnayake recommends adopting a strategy of avoid, minimise damage and inform. 

It includes steering clear of areas where you’ve been swooped for a few months, wearing a hat and sunglasses to protect your head and eyes and to resist the urge to panic and flee if confronted.

‘Running or cycling away is not a good idea,’ Dr Ratnayake said.

‘Most recorded injuries occur when people try to avoid being attacked – especially when cycling.’


 *If you are swooped while riding, get off of your bike as many injuries are caused in falls during an attack.

*Keep an ear open for their distinctive warble

* Stay still and calm to provoke a further attack.

*Wear sunglasses and large wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and eyes.

*Face the magpie as they tend to attack from behind. Keep facing the bird as you walk out of their territory to avoid be swooped as soon as you look away.

Source: Magpie Alert 



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