Injuries involving magpies

Incorporating the AIHW National Injury Surveillance Unit
Magpie Injuries

Injuries involving magpies

Report preparation date: 9 October 1997

Author: Renate Kreisfeld

There was a total of 59 cases in the Injury Surveillance Information System (ISIS) in which a MAGPIE was coded as being a factor in causing an injury.

About ISIS:

ISIS is a national collection of hospital emergency department attendance records. Over 50 hospitals and other medical centres have provided data to the collection over the period 1986-1994. It should be stressed however that the ISIS collection does not provide a comprehensive coverage of all injuries presenting to hospitals in Australia. Nonetheless, the collection is large (over 700,000 records) and can provide a good description of the circumstances leading to specific types of injury, as well as identify less common injury occurrences. Information about injury circumstances is usually self-reported by the injured person. Additional clinical information is provided by the treating medical staff.

More information on the ISIS coding system is available here.

Disclaimer
This is a brief analysis written in response to a specific question from one of the Centre's clients. It uses available data and should not be viewed as a detailed piece of research. The Centre releases this information in the interests of ensuring that work done for one client can inform others. The report must not be quoted or cited without written permission from the Centre.

Briefly, these were some of the patterns observable from the analyses undertaken:

  • The cases fell into two general categories: those in which an injury was actually inflicted by a magpie (ie pecking) and those in which a magpie attack caused a person to fall or lose control of a bicycle, etc. and sustain an injury as a result.
  • The eye was the most frequently affected body part (n=12, 20.3%).
  • The majority of cases required a significant level of medical treatment, and 20% resulted in admission to hospital.
  • The categories 'pedestrian' and 'bicyclist' were the most frequently used to describe the activity being undertaken at the time of the incident (accounting for 47.5% combined).
  • The incidents occurred most frequently in public areas such as roads and footpaths.
  • The cases most commonly occurred in the period August to November.
The following data tables appear below:
For some further information on magpies, you may wish to visit the following sites:

Magpie Information
Contains some useful information on co-existing with magpies, particularly in the breeding season. Use the search box to find magpies. From the Education and Information Unit, Department of Environment, Queensland, Australia
Australian Magpie
Physical description, photograph and sound clip of the magpie call
Magpie Attack
An illustrated children's story of a magpie attack, with links to further information on a number of related topics. Adults will enjoy it too!
Legal Issues
Details of an action against Hornsby Shire Council following a magpie attack

Magpies - Table of frequencies by age group
Age group Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
0-4 yrs 3 5.1 5.1 5.1
5-9 yrs 7 11.9 11.9 16.9
10-14 yrs 15 25.4 25.4 42.4
15-29 yrs 16 27.1 27.1 69.5
30-44 yrs 11 18.6 18.6 88.1
45-59 yrs 6 10.2 10.2 98.3
75 or more yrs 1 1.7 1.7 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by sex
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Male 37 62.7 62.7 62.7
Female 22 37.3 37.3 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by primary body part injured
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
No body part coded 2 3.4 3.4 3.4
Eye 12 20.3 20.3 23.7
Nose 4 6.8 6.8 30.5
Mouth external 1 1.7 1.7 32.2
Ear 1 1.7 1.7 33.9
Face cheek forehead scalp 7 11.9 11.9 45.8
Skull base 1 1.7 1.7 47.5
Skull vault 3 5.1 5.1 52.5
Neck, NEC 1 1.7 1.7 54.2
Clavicle 4 6.8 6.8 61.0
Shoulder, NEC 3 5.1 5.1 66.1
Radius or ulna 3 5.1 5.1 71.2
Elbow 3 5.1 5.1 76.3
Upper extremity digit or phalanx 3 5.1 5.1 81.4
Femur 1 1.7 1.7 83.1
Knee 3 5.1 5.1 88.1
Ankle 4 6.8 6.8 94.9
Ribs 1 1.7 1.7 96.6
Chest or NEC 2 3.4 3.4 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by primary injury sustained
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Cut, laceration 11 18.6 18.6 18.6
Puncture 2 3.4 3.4 22.0
Bite 3 5.1 5.1 27.1
Superficial abrasion 7 11.9 11.9 39.0
Penetrating wound 6 10.2 10.2 49.2
Haematoma or bruising 4 6.8 6.8 55.9
Haemorrhage 1 1.7 1.7 57.6
Inflammation oedema tenderness 3 5.1 5.1 62.7
Fracture 15 25.4 25.4 88.1
Dislocation 1 1.7 1.7 89.8
Sprain or strain 4 6.8 6.8 96.6
Concussion 2 3.4 3.4 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by level of medical treatment received
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
No treatment 2 3.4 3.4 3.4
Treated no referral 22 37.3 37.3 40.7
Treated, referral to outpatients department 5 8.5 8.5 49.2
Treated, referral to GP 3 5.1 5.1 54.2
Treated other referral 2 3.4 3.4 57.6
Admitted 10 16.9 16.9 74.6
Transferred 2 3.4 3.4 78.0
Casualty review 13 22.0 22.0 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by geographic location of the incident
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Government public utility 1 1.7 1.7 1.7
Public road 21 35.6 35.6 37.3
Private road or driveway 3 5.1 5.1 42.4
Footpath 10 16.9 16.9 59.3
Parking area 2 3.4 3.4 62.7
Other vehicle area 4 6.8 6.8 69.5
Sports arena or oval or court 2 3.4 3.4 72.9
Own home garden etc 4 6.8 6.8 79.7
Public playground 1 1.7 1.7 81.4
National or public park 5 8.5 8.5 89.8
Field or paddock 2 3.4 3.4 93.2
Unknown or not elsewhere specified 4 6.8 6.8 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by context (ie activity being undertaken at time of injury incident)
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Pedestrian 10 16.9 16.9 16.9
Bicyclist 28 47.5 47.5 64.4
Injured on duty 1 1.7 1.7 66.1
Playing 6 10.2 10.2 76.3
Recreation outdoor on land 6 10.2 10.2 86.4
Other recreation 1 1.7 1.7 88.1
Walking or running 4 6.8 6.8 94.9
Standing 1 1.7 1.7 96.6
Gardening 1 1.7 1.7 98.3
DYI not vehicle 1 1.7 1.7 100.0
Total 59 100.0 100.0  

Magpies - Table of frequencies by month of year of incident.
MonthNo of cases
January1
May1
August9
September21
October19
November7
December1

Injuries involving magpies - Summary Table
Age in years Description Primary Injury Body Part Level of medical treatment
18 Magpie attacked victim pecked in eye Penetrating wound Eye Admitted
44 Walking to work attacked by magpie strained neck Sprain or strain Neck, NEC Treated other referral
2 Attacked by magpie Cut, laceration Face cheek forehead scalp Casualty review
3 Attacked by a magpie Superficial abrasion Face cheek forehead scalp Treated, no referral
34 Attacked by magpie Superficial abrasion Nose Treated, no referral
12 Magpie swooped, fell off bike Fracture Radius or ulna Treated other referral
14 Riding bike home, collided with a tree after being swooped by magpie. Sprain or strain Ankle Treated, no referral
14 Being chased by irate magpie while horseriding. Fell; landed on ground. Fracture Femur Admitted
51 Walking down street and swooped by magpie Cut, laceration Nose Treated, no referral
79 Walking home and attacked by magpie Cut, laceration Nose No treatment
10 Riding bicycle attacked by magpie fell hit ground Fracture Radius or ulna Transferred
45 Magpie dived onto head Superficial abrasion Nose Treated, no referral
17 Hit by magpie and lost control of bike Concussion   Treated, no referral
35 Riding bike, magpie attacked & victim fell from bike. Fracture Upper extremity digit or phalanx Casualty review
37 Home watering the garden, swooped by magpie,ran down rockery & fell on porch. Haematoma or bruising Face cheek forehead scalp Casualty review
17 Walking home, swooped by magpie & tripped in pot hole. Sprain or strain Ankle Treated no referral
49 Riding a bicycle, swooped by a magpie, fell off bike down storm water drain. Sprain or strain Shoulder, NEC Treated, referral to Outpatients Department
36 Swooped by magpie. Cut, laceration Skull vault Treated, no referral
18 Just got off bus, attacked by magpie. Puncture Skull vault Treated, no referral
57 Riding push bike/attacked by magpie/fell off onto road Fracture Ankle Admitted
6 Playing, magpie attack, flew down & cut under left eye Cut, laceration Face cheek forehead scalp Treated, no referral
7 Walking towards car, magpie attacked & got child in eye Penetrating wound Eye Admitted
5 Magpie flew down and he fell to the ground to get out of its way Superficial abrasion Eye Casualty review
18 Riding bike and attacked by magpie Fracture Elbow Casualty review
13 PBA - magpie swooped on him and he fell off his bike Concussion   Admitted
41 PBA - magpie attacked, lost concentration and fell Inflammation oedema tenderness Chest or NEC Treated, no referral
11 Riding bicycle near st thomas church magpie swooped. Cut, laceration Face cheek forehead scalp Treated, no referral
28 Walking and running fell over running from magpies. Inflammation oedema tenderness Shoulder, NEC Treated, no referral
14 Riding a bike, magpie attacked and victim collided with a log. Haematoma or bruising Elbow No treatment
13 Riding bike home, magpie swooped and caused victim to fall to ground. Fracture Upper extremity digit or phalanx Casualty review
33 Cycling to work magpie attacked from behind. Fell and hit ground. Bite Skull vault Treated, no referral
17 Magpie attacked him fell off bike Fracture Clavicle Casualty review
17 Fell off bike after magpie attacked him Fracture Clavicle Treated, referral to Outpatients Department
18 Magpie attacked fell from bike Haematoma or bruising Elbow Casualty review
14 Riding pushbike/lost control of bicycle/attacked by magpie/hit gutter Superficial abrasion Chest or NEC Treated, no referral
14 Pba - attacked by magpie Inflammation oedema tenderness Shoulder, NEC Treated, no referral
12 Riding a bike - magpie swooped at victims head - ducked and fell on road Fracture Radius or ulna Admitted
11 Magpie swooped down and hit child in eye with its claw. Cut, laceration Eye Treated, referral to GP
58 Proceeding to work dive bombed by nesting magpie Superficial abrasion Eye Casualty review
11 Riding bike, swooped by magpie. Cut, laceration Face cheek forehead scalp Treated, no referral
26 Riding pushbike, swooped by magpie, fell off. Cut, laceration Knee Casualty review
27 Rididng a bike, swooped by a magpie, fell over the handlebars. Fracture Clavicle Treated, referral to GP
35 Riding a bike, attacked by a magpie, fell off. Fracture Upper extremity digit or phalanx Casualty review
2 Watching birds,pecked on head and eye by magpie Penetrating wound Eye Admitted
8 Playing softball with family attacke by magpie Penetrating wound Eye Treated, referral to Outpatients Department
26 Walking in a park magpie attacked his eye Cut, laceration Eye Treated, referral to Outpatients Department
54 Nursing and patting magpie magpie poked beak in eye trying to get tear Superficial abrasion Eye Casualty review
16 Magpie attacked cyclist, rode into telegraph pole Fracture Mouth external Admitted
21 Bitten by a magpie on the back of the neck Bite Skull base Treated, no referral
7 Walking home and hit by magpie in eye Haemorrhage Eye Admitted
34 Riding pushbike attacked by magpie lost control bike landed in gutter Dislocation Clavicle Casualty review
14 Running away from swooping magpie, slipped. Haematoma or bruising Knee Treated, no referral
29 Riding bike, trying to avoid magpies, fell off, landed on bike. Fracture Ribs Treated, no referral
30 Working on roof, bombed by magpie, cut knee on roof Cut, laceration Knee Treated, referral to GP
32 Walking. Attacked by magpie. Puncture Face cheek forehead scalp Treated, no referral
12 Bitten by magpie behind the ear Bite Ear Treated, no referral
17 Riding bicycle and was swooped by a magpie, fell off bike wrong way. Fracture Ankle Treated, referral to Outpatients Department
7 Playing, magpie swooped and hit eye Penetrating wound Eye Transferred
7 Playing, magpie swooped and hit eye Penetrating wound Eye Admitted

Explanations of the terms 'mechanism of injury' and 'breakdown factor' are available here

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