Response to ambassador's 'legendary' photo highlights Aussie misconception

·News Editor
·3-min read

While China's ambassador to Australia had no qualms with ruffling a few Aussie feathers in a recent speech in Canberra, his Japanese counterpart is doing his best to conform to life Down Under.

With spring just days away, Shingo Yamagami shared a photo online of himself embarking on a bike ride while taking some extra precautions due to magpie swooping season.

Mr Yamagami is seen in the photo wearing a Collingwood Magpies jumper while his helmet is adorned with chopsticks to keep the birds at bay.

The ambassador offered a peace treaty to the iconic Aussie birds. Source: Twitter
The ambassador offered a peace treaty to the iconic Aussie birds. Source: Twitter

"Dear magpies, how about we call it a truce this swooping season? Look, I’m even trying to blend in more," he wrote when sharing the picture on Twitter.

"If the urge to go after my helmet proves too tempting, have a complimentary chopstick. They’re scented with sushi and Wagyu beef."

Complete with a peck-tastic pun, the ambassador's tweet has been shared widely on social media receiving more than 3,800 likes since being posted on Saturday night.

Mr Yamagami was praised for the amusing image with journalist Anthony Klan labelling him a "legend". But discussion in the comments also highlighted a harmful misunderstanding when it comes to swooping season.

Comments reveal harmful magpie mistake

ANU professor John Blaxland was among those to comment about their own magpie encounters.

"I put eye stickers on the back of my bike helmet it make the magpies think I was looking at them, but they still swoop and strike. The trick is to duck your head and ride past as quickly as possible!" he joked.

Many Twitter users advocated for people to feed the magpies to earn their favour and prevent them from swooping.

"Carry treats, stop cycling, feed them. They'll remember you. especially if it's a regular route," one person responded.

"Feed them Mr Ambassador, word gets around and their mates will leave you alone," another said while a third Twitter user suggested using "dried cat food biscuits".

"They love it and will never swoop you again," they wrote.

However wildlife experts and rescuers strongly urge against the public feeding native birds as it can prove disastrous for them and their offspring.

WIRES volunteer Inga Tiere told Yahoo News Australia last month that is most cases feeding them can cause harm, particularly with common items like meat and bread.

"What will happen is mum and dad pick up the meat to feed the babies, the babies can actually get very, very sick and can end up with metabolic bone disease," she explained.

The wildlife carer has nursed numerous birds who have been fed by humans and as a result often their bones will become brittle, similar to osteoporosis.

Instead, Aussie are urged to try familiarise yourself with local magpies before swooping season begins, and where possible, stay about 50 metres away from nests with chicks.

Magpie swooping season typically lasts from August to October with male birds swooping for about four to six weeks to protect their eggs and young.

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