MAGPIES are lovely birds.
Except for a couple of months of early spring.
Then they become "evil swooping magpies - and when they get you in their sights you're a target", said Emerald resident, Blackwater miner and entrepreneur Mike Wignall.
Mike, a keen cyclist, got so sick of being attacked by the sharp-beaked terrors who aggressively protect their young during the short breeding season, he conjured up a simple but effective headgear protection - which is taking off with its popularity.
It's a legal cycling helmet with an added brim, which has good health benefits as well as ample pecking protection.
"It's new and unusual," Mike said.
"It stops both the sun - and the magpies."
Mike first thought about the idea five years ago.
"I like to ride my bike, but looked for something to stop the magpies," he said.
"There was one I saw in the US but it was designed for equestrian use - and it was cumbersome.
"Magpies attack mainly my ears - they always go for mine; maybe they're too big - but this covers your ears.
"The hat doesn't stop the swooping, but it stops them getting pecked and gives you peace of mind.
"The birds can peck your eyes - some of the horror stories I've heard about kids being attacked - it's not good."
Mike ordered a small number of hats and has drawn interest from across the country through his website www.swoopaway.com.au.
Mike has donated a limited amount of brims to the Blackwater PCYC, so come and pick one up for free.
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