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Another Reason to Be Glad You Wear a Hard Hat


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Spring has many upsides on the work site — but swooping attacks from our warbling feathered friends during breaks or while on the way to and from the site isn’t one of them.

Australia's swooping season starts in spring as predominantly male magpies dive down on cyclists, pedestrians, and runners who go near nests. There have been 3,253 recorded attacks and 518 injuries linked to magpies across the country in 2017, according to the Magpie Alert website. 702 of the attacks occurred in Victoria, the third most of any state behind NSW and Queensland.

In Melbourne, the increased frequency of aerial attacks by magpies has even prompted an official warning. A penetrated eye is just one of an "extraordinary" spate of magpie-inflicted injuries in the city, according to medical experts. According to Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital emergency director Dr Carmel Crock, the number of eye injuries caused by the bird has skyrocketed.

In Melbourne, the increased frequency of aerial attacks by magpies has even prompted an official warning. 

"Normally, we might see one or two a month," she told ABC radio on Thursday. But in July we saw 14 cases of bird eye injuries. August there were 12. In the last week, we saw five in one day, including a penetrating eye injury that needed to go to theatre."

Many attacks took place in Lonsdale Street, Punt Road, Lygon Street, and Heffernan Lane in the CBD, Dr Crock said. The "extraordinary" number of incidents led multiple staff registrars to ask hospital executives to take action, she said.

"We really just did want to warn the public," Dr Crock said. "Although a lot of the injuries are quite minor, they can really go all the way through and cause a penetrating injury, with bleeding and bruising at the back of the eye."

Might be a good time of year to keep the hard hat on if there are magpies about - even during smoko!

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