The inventor of 3D printing tests a series of helmet attachments to find out what REALLY prevents magpies from flying at you – with some surprising results
- Youtuber Alister Laidlaw tested the best defense against magpies this week
- He 3D printed twigs, zip ties and a magpie and then attached them to a helmet
- He cycled down a path and counted how many swoops he had with each item
- Cable ties were the most effective, while the fake bird made things worse
An inventor designed a series of helmet mounts to test the best ways to prevent magpies from emerging.
Australian Youtuber Alister Laidlaw shared a video this week with his channel Electrosync examining which 3D-printed defense mechanisms are most effective at deterring attacks.
Using plastic he made twigs, a pair of eyes, zip ties and a fake magpie before testing every object at the infamous dive site.
Youtuber Alister Laidlaw, based in NSW, tested the best helmet attachments to deter rousing magpies in his latest video (photo)
‘It’s spring in Australia, the wattles are in bloom and the snakes have just emerged. But if there’s one thing more Australian than this, it’s emerging magpies, ”he says.
“The males are vigorously defending their nest and can cause injuries from their attacks.”
‘I’ve mounted a 360-degree camera on my bike, I’m going to ride it down the 150 meter long path behind me and count the number of times I go into hiding, then we can compare what was most effective.’
As a control measure for the experiment, Mr. Laidlaw only wore a helmet for the first round and was shot six times, with the plastic twigs performing slightly better with one less shot.
The wiggle eyes fared worse than just a helmet that scored seven times, while the most effective measure was the zip ties – provoking only three.
The least successful measure was the fake bird, which appeared to aggravate the magpie a total of nine times.
He 3D printed twigs, a pair of eyes, zip ties and a fake magpie (pictured) before cycling through a notorious dive site and counting how many times he was attacked wearing each item
Mr. Laidlaw attributed the success of the cable ties to their length.
MAGPIE SWOOP TEST RESULTS
- Helm (control) – six swoops
- Fake sticks (PLAsticks) – five swoops
- False Eyes (Pie Eyes) – seven swoops
- Cable ties (cable ties) – three folds
- Fake Magpie (Madpie 300) – nine swoops
“The zip ties seemed to work well to keep the bird from getting too close, to the point of giving up,” he says.
‘The downside is that you look like a tool when there are no magpies around.
“Madpie 3000 was a huge failure and only made the Swoopy Boi crazier.”
The diving season lasts about six weeks from the beginning of spring, as males drive away potential threats near their nests.
Magpies have a high intelligence and a well-developed memory, and can distinguish between friends and enemies.
They can fly up to 100 meters from their nest and will repeatedly emerge familiar faces over their 23-25 years lifespan.
To avoid attacks, cyclists are encouraged to wear zip ties in their helmets, or to get off the bike and walk.
For pedestrians, the best solution is to quietly walk away and maintain eye contact with the animal outside the nest zone to prevent them from emerging.
The zip ties were the most effective measure, cutting the number of hits in half just by wearing a helmet (control), while the fake magpie fared the worst