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Cyclist dies while fleeing swooping magpie in Woonona


A man has died while trying to avoid a swooping magpie in a park near Wollongong which has a history of attacks.

The 76-year-old was riding his bicycle in Woonona yesterday morning when the bird started to swoop so he rode off the path in an effort to escape.

He then crashed into a fence post, was thrown to the ground and suffered serious head injuries.

Locals performed CPR on him until an ambulance arrived, before he was airlifted to St George Hospital in a critical condition.

Despite medical efforts he died last night.

Local resident Jason Crosskey saw the accident and said the man looked to be in a “pretty bad way”.

“There was quite a lot of blood,” he said.

“I feel sorry for him, for something like that to happen is pretty alarming actually.”

The man had been riding alongside Nicholson Park where locals say a particularly aggressive magpie has been a repeat offender.

The Magpie Alert website, which tracks swopping magpies across Australia, shows around eight attacks in the area.

Those who have logged attacks on the website say one bird is “very determined”.

“It is amazing how far it will roam from the nest to chase a chosen victim,” Ken said on Magpie Alert.

Mr Crosskey agreed that one bird in the area seems to be the culprit.

“It swoops quite a lot of people. It swooped a kid yesterday.”

Earlier this month the Hills Shire Council in Sydney’s north east made the decision to shoot an “uncharacteristically territorial” magpie which had inflicted many injuries.

The bird was deemed a significant risk to public safety and one resident said it was responsible for giving him a heart attack during a swooping frenzy.

Officers are investigating the incident and a report will be prepared for the NSW Coroner.

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