Australia is the only country in the world to have five seasons. There’s winter, summer, autumn, spring and, of course, magpie season.
It’s an odd period of the year, unique to Australia, that has posties ducking for cover and bike-riding children too scared to leave the family carport.
It’s an otherwise happy season – it overlaps spring with the best of winter and the early days of summer – but the blue skies of this season are constantly scrutinised for small, dark and fast-flying objects.
At Magpie Primary School, principal Peter Clifton said that at each season’s opening – marked by the first reported swooping – his pupils were taken aside and told not to annoy the birds.
Many tried and true remedies remain useful each season, but some new approaches to avoiding the black and white menace have also appeared.
There’s the classic “eyes” painted onto bike helmets, there’s the popular zip-ties that poke out from the top of hats and, of course, the trusty ice-cream container worn as a helmet – a common defensive approach.
There’s travelling in groups, covering your head and moving quickly, but technology could hold the final solution.
The Courier is asking readers to nominate a magpie “hotspot” in your area via the iPhone app or via the Facebook page.
Armed with this knowledge, Ballarat will be able to manage magpie season just as easy as the other four.