Each spring during breeding season, Australia's magpie population declares war on humans — leading to a flurry of surprise attacks on unsuspecting cyclists and pedestrians. If the idea of getting pecked sets your heart racing, this iPhone app from a Lifehacker reader should help to reduce your stress levels.
Magpie picture from Shutterstock
Lifehacker reader 'hoopiest35' wrote in to tell us about his Swooper app for iOS devices. As its name implies, the Swooper app is designed to protect you from territorial magpies via an interactive map of local swooping hotspots.
Here's hoopiest35 on the creation of his app:
I have been swooped regularly over the years. I always thought it was the colour of my hair (red-ish). Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I'd wear a hat — still get swooped. Wear a bike helmet - still get swooped. I get swooped no matter what. It is a terrifying and dangerous experience especially when I'm riding.
I think the best way to stop getting swooped is to avoid the birds if possible, and with that in mind, I had an app developed. It's called SWOOPERS (obviously) and it's an interactive app that allows people to upload information such as swooping hotspots. The app also comes with a real time map that pinpoints swooping locations.
The app has only just come online so the number of locations will not be great, but to see what the app is capable of, have a look at the map of Bendigo, VIC — lots of swooping hotspots have been pin-pointed. As the app is interactive, the more people who use it, the more people will benefit.
Swoop sites are shown on the app's map as green pins — you can click on each pin to reveal the location, date recorded and any comments left by the reporter. You can also add your own swooping sites by clicking on the 'report a sighting' tab.
We don't normally endorse shameless reader plugs, but the Swooper app does seem like a useful tool to ward against magpie attacks this spring — and as hoopiest35 points out, the more people who know about the app, the more effective it will be.
You can check out the app for yourself by downloading it from the App Store.
Have you ever been injured by a magpie? What tricks do you use to lessen the chances of getting pecked? Share your anecdotes and survival tips in the comments section below.