A man in regional Victoria has recalled the terrifying moment he was attacked in both eyes by a swooping magpie, leaving him with blurred vision and a bloody face.
James Glindemann was about to enjoy his lunch on a park bench outside the Gippsland Centre shopping mall in Sale on Tuesday when he noticed the the bird land nearby.
While their encounter was harmonious to begin with, it quickly took a dark turn.
“I went to open my lunch and the bird threw it in my face and attacked my left eye,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
The 68-year-old said he was left “in a bit of shock” and while he’d been roughed up a little, he didn’t notice any obvious injuries and he’d managed to hold on to his lunch.
Yet he believes doing so prompted another attack, with the bird this time swooping and attacking his right eye.
“This time it had cut my eyelid and it started bleeding down my face,” he revealed.
Mr Glindemann quickly made his way to his car parked nearby, with his eyesight deteriorating with each step.
When inside the vehicle he called triple-0. Paramedics were on scene within 20 minutes and rushed him to Sale Hospital.
He was then airlifted to Melbourne’s Eye and Ear Hospital where he underwent surgery on his left eye after doctors discovered a cut on his cornea.
A photo of his injuries shows severe swelling and redness to his right eye.
Thankfully doctors say the terrifying attack will not leave any lasting damage despite Mr Glindemann suffering from blurred vision. He was discharged on Thursday.
Magpie attacking for food, government says
Yet Mr Glindemann believes there is an ongoing danger to the public, after he was informed at the hospital a woman was also attacked by a magpie in the same spot a week before, losing the lens in one of her eyes in the process.
He believes the bird is specifically attacking for food in an area that is popular with people eating their lunch.
“My concern is for other people because clearly this bird has developed a technique and it’s not a very good one,” he said.
A Wellington Shire Council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia signage had been erected to warn people of the dangers of magpies in the area.
Warning against feeding magpies
A Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the department is aware of the particular magpie.
They said attacks involving the bird appear to be associated with people feeding it and advised against the public from feeding any wildlife.
Australia is in the midst of its annual magpie swooping season, which occurs for six to eight weeks during spring due to the territorial birds protecting their eggs or chicks in their nests.
The Australian Museum’s Melissa Murray previously told Yahoo News Australia magpies can remember up to 40 faces and repeatedly attack those who return to its nest’s area.
The DELWP operates an interactive map to show where swooping hotspots are located.
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