The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?  (Read 6524 times)

Offline Leslie Weir

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« on: 16/09/2011 12:01:02 »
Leslie Weir  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
G'day Chris,

newbielink:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/ [nonactive]. newbielink:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/ [nonactive] when I am sorting mail in Sydney.

I am a postie in suburban Sydney, Oz. At this time of year magpies present a disturbing problem. They attack/dive bomb and generally molest our motorcycle posties. We ride red Honda CT110 motorcycles and wear fluoro yellow  shirts and jackets and white helmets, not yellow as in the attached pic.

While we are aware that the maggies cannot really hurt us, it is very unnerving to have one fly into your face, [helmet visor], or attack from the rear or side. They crash into the helmet and sometimes into our body. All the time, screeching and flapping wings.

My question is; how can we stop or dissuade this happening?
A shotgun is not feasible, being suburban areas.

Regards,

Les W

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 16/09/2011 12:01:02 by _system »


 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #1 on: 22/09/2011 09:20:17 »
These attacks are, I doubt, anything to do with hunting. Like other Magpies and other members of the Crow family, the Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is more interested in carrion and insects. At this time of year, they also take eggs, chicks and fledglings of songbirds. Despite their formidable beak, they do not attempt to take anything too large and are usually quite timid.

But, this is the breeding season for the Magpie and the males, in particular, become very aggressive, defending their offspring. For some reason, motorcycle riders seem to be seen as a threat. Why this should be is a puzzle.

One thing which might cause the birds to see the postie as a threat, is the yellow hi-viz. It could be that the colour and texture of the fabric is likened to the belly of the Monitor Lizard, a predator of the Magpie.

Perhaps attacks might be lessened if you were to wear another colour. The yellow may be too close to the yellowish underside of the lizard, so perhaps you could get your bosses to agree to trials with orange, red, green or blue hi-viz vests.

 

Offline Leslie Weir

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #2 on: 23/09/2011 08:52:38 »
G'day,
we used to wear orange/red, same thing happened.

Have a look at

newbielink:http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/blood-and-feathers-sydneys-angry-birds-take-their-toll-20110923-1kobr.html [nonactive]

 [8D]
 

Offline Leslie Weir

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #3 on: 19/11/2011 10:50:56 »
G'day,
worked out the answer. A squeeze bottle filled with acetic acid and adjust the mirrors. When the magpie is about to swoop, squirt the acid over the shoulders, bird doesn't return! Worked once, no need for a second go.  [8D] Many thanks for you help.  [?]
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8659
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #4 on: 20/11/2011 10:01:01 »
acetic acid is quite corrosive to humans too. Carrying it about on a bike in a leaky container is one of the worse ideas I have seen here.
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #5 on: 20/11/2011 12:16:37 »
./cont from BC's post

It is harmful to the Magpie and to any other animal which may come into contact with it, such as other birds foraging on the ground where it has fallen, or dogs/cats out for a walk.



I would very strongly advise that desist from this, if only for your own sake. Imagine a squirt of your acid landing in some pedestrian's eye! You could find yourself facing very serious charges. You could even face charges of being in possesion of a harmful substance with intent.

I agree with BC, an extremely bad idea all round.
 

Offline Leslie Weir

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #6 on: 21/11/2011 22:47:32 »
G'day,
but it adds to my chips...

"a sour-tasting liquid containing acetic acid, obtained by fermenting dilute alcoholic liquids, typically wine, cider, or beer, and used as a condiment or for pickling".

On a science forum, and no one asked the strength!

 ???
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #7 on: 22/11/2011 00:32:55 »
Otherwise known as Vinegar.

I wouldn't want to get much of it in my eyes, but otherwise it isn't that bad, and can easily be washed off, or even wiped off of the skin.  Would it bleach fabric?

I doubt a little vinegar would do permanent damage to the birds eyes though.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #8 on: 22/11/2011 02:29:22 »
It's nice on chips!
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #9 on: 22/11/2011 02:51:15 »
On a science forum, and no one asked the strength!


..... bottle filled with acetic acid .....

I would no more put acetic acid on my chips than I would put citric acid on my fish.

On a science forum, you should say what you mean, vinegar.

That aside, as a pedestrian being squirted with vinegar, you would incur my great displeasure at having to spend the rest of the day smelling like a chip shop, so still not the best of ideas.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #10 on: 22/11/2011 04:49:20 »

I would no more put acetic acid on my chips


I dunno about that Don. My old man was a chemist, and he never bought vinegar. He always brought some home from the shop in a bottle with a ground glass stopper. A few drops went a very long way!
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #11 on: 22/11/2011 10:07:09 »
Presumably he diluted it before use. Vinegar is usually about 5% acidity.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #12 on: 22/11/2011 19:08:27 »
Presumably he diluted it before use. Vinegar is usually about 5% acidity.

I presume he dumped some aqua tap in it to tone it down a bit, but it was still pretty wicked!
 

Offline CZARCAR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #13 on: 22/11/2011 19:44:20 »
try a spring mounted on the helmet with a shiny/reflective ping-pong ball atop the spring?
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #14 on: 22/11/2011 20:11:13 »
try a spring mounted on the helmet with a shiny/reflective ping-pong ball atop the spring?

They'll probably try to nick it!

(Cue "Thieving Magpie")
 

Offline CZARCAR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #15 on: 22/11/2011 20:19:02 »
POINT IS THE BALL IS MOVING VIA SPRING aint sure of right color or should be owlface?
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #16 on: 22/11/2011 20:45:02 »
POINT IS MAGPIES ARE ATTRACTED to bright shiny objects  ;D
 

Offline CZARCAR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #17 on: 23/11/2011 05:00:22 »
POINT IS MAGPIES ARE ATTRACTED to bright shiny objects  ;D
so lengthen the spring & magpie attacks the shiny ball & avoids the driver?
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #18 on: 23/11/2011 09:05:00 »
POINT IS MAGPIES ARE ATTRACTED to bright shiny objects  ;D
so lengthen the spring & magpie attacks the shiny ball & avoids the driver?
Can you electrify your shiny antenna balls?
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #19 on: 23/11/2011 09:40:41 »
I am NOT electrifying my balls, nor am I polishing them.

Have I missunderstood something somewhere?
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How can we stop magpies attacking our postmen?
« Reply #19 on: 23/11/2011 09:40:41 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums