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Cyclist killed after swerving to avoid an incoming bird

2019-09-16

A 76-year-old Australian cyclist caught a break when he swerved out of the way of an aggressive bird that was coming his way in a park south of Sydney over the weekend. The unidentified man’s luck ran out almost immediately afterward when his evasive maneuver sent him crashing into a fence post, then to the ground where he suffered a fatal head injury.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, according to Woonona, Australia, police who identified the bird as a “swooping magpie” in their report.

Magpies birds are known to become especially aggressive between late August and the middle of October when they’re breeding and feel a need to “swoop” potential threats away from their nests. A site called Magpie Alert tracks human run-ins with the medium-sized birds.

Magpies are considered highly intelligent animals, according to a University of Exter study, that credits the species’ sizable social groups for enabling "elevated cognitive performance” among its individuals.

The cyclist was airlifted to St George Hospital, where he died Sunday evening.