Cyclist dies after trying to avoid swooping magpie

An elderly man has died after trying to avoid a magpie on his bike on the NSW South Coast.

The 76-year-old man was riding a pushbike on an off-road path alongside Nicholson Park at Woonona on Sunday about 8.15am when he was swooped by a magpie.

Witnesses told police he rode off the path to avoid the bird but crashed into a fence and fell to the ground.

The footpath at Nicholson Park at Woonona is pictured.
An elderly man died after he was swooped by a magpie while riding his bike near this path at Nicholson Park on Sunday. Source: Google Maps (file pic)

He sustained serious head injuries and was hospitalised in a critical condition.

The man later died in hospital.

Nathan Foster told Nine News the magpie was swooping his wife.

The couple were cycling in the opposite direction to the elderly man and Mr Foster said he was worried about being swooped too and crashed trying to avoid the bird.

“His eyes were off the track because he was concerned with the magpie swooping him, I think and he just went over the fence,” Mr Foster told Nine News.

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

How to avoid being swooped by a magpie

According to South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water, there are a number of ways to avoid being swooped by magpies.

It’s best to travel in groups near nests as magpies usually only target individuals.

You can also carry an umbrella or wear sunglasses and or a wide-brimmed hat.

A magpie is pictured.
There are ways to avoid being swooped by magpies. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

It’s also best to walk a bike through magpie territory or have a flag on it higher than your head.

The department recommends not acting aggressively by either waving or shouting at the birds as it will only make magpies see you as a threat.

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