Postman’s secret to taming swooping magpies
In the battle of man versus magpie, there is one clear winner: Postman John Kanard.
The postie from Canberra says he has never been swooped by a magpie – even in spring when the birds dive on any perceived threat.
Mr Kanard has managed to charm the magpies on his daily delivery route and is now sharing his secret to success.
"There's that wonderful bond of trust between humans and animals that is often too rare,” he told 7 News.
"I reasoned that it would be best to develop my own relationship with the birds in case there was a rogue out there, I'd be able to tame it.”
His secret weapon? Muesli bars. Mr Kanard would feed the birds before the spring swooping season to gain their trust.
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And what’s even more surprising - the birds remember him.
"When they see me coming, they generally will come to me and be at my feet or sit on my handle bars,” he said.
It's a strategy John believes anyone can use to their advantage, especially those who have to walk or ride through known nesting spots on their daily commute.
"Make sure they see your face when you're feeding. Make sure they see your face when you're on the bike and hopefully they'll be able to recognise you," Behavioural Ecologist Trevor Murray said.
Researchers say feed them once or twice and the fiercely territorial birds should mellow.
"They're scared of you essentially and they're just trying to protect their babies that's why they swoop people," Mr Murray said.
And if you're short on muesli bars? Little bits of sausage do the trick.