The Doctor Who Fends Off Magpie Attacks With Children's Party Favors - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

The Doctor Who Fends Off Magpie Attacks With Children’s Party Favors

It’s magpie swooping season in Australia, and at least one man is sick of living in fear.

Springtime in Australia is a dangerous season thanks to the constant threat of dive-bombing magpies. Around August of each year, the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) tends to go on the rampage, with males swooping down to scare off potential threats to their nests, namely humans. Sometimes, it’s just startling, but other times, they can injure eyes or scratch peoples’ faces with their beaks and claws.

According to a statistic shared by the website MAGPIE ALERT!, via a recent Guardian article, there have already been over 500 magpie-related injuries reported across Australia in 2017. Over the years, residents have devised a number of DIY methods to protect themselves from such injuries, including wearing buckets on their heads. But one doctor may have recently devised the most festive bit of magpie-protective gear yet.

In a video that’s making the rounds, Dr. Richard Osborne, an oncologist and avid cyclist, can be seen showing off his new defense mechanism, a bike helmet equipped with children’s noise blowers. Connected to a tube in his mouth, he simply blows into it, and the party favors unravel with a little toot, spooking any magpies near him. A simple idea, but as can be seen in the video, an effective one.

As he told a local news station, it seemed safer to him than carrying a stick or waving his hand while biking. From the looks of the video, he’s right.