The Project host Josh Thomson issues nationwide magpie warning

Spring is here - but for Three's The Project host Josh Thomson, it's brought back traumatic memories.

This time last year, Thomson was the target of a vicious hate campaign - an aerial assault by a dive-bombing magpie.

He filmed the incident during a call with fellow comedian Guy Montgomery, showing the terror from above.

"I'm getting swooped, I'm getting swooped by a bird," he shouted. "Oh my god."

Thomson was left humiliated by tabloid headlines like "Kiwi Funnyman Josh Thomson Dive-Bombed By Aggressive Magpies".

He says the attack left him scarred. So, this year, he's spent his time preparing for the bombardment.

"I was frightened, hurt and embarrassed," he says.

"Magpie season is here again, so I've been researching how to ward the pests off, and apparently the answer isn't bike helmets with fake eyes and spikes, or yelling and screaming like a madman."

But Aussie bird expert Professor Gisela Kaplan appeared on the show, to say the attack wasn't personal.

"Magpies do not hate anybody," she says.

"In fact, they are one of the very few species who will actually love making friends with humans."

Magpies are particularly ferocious during their nesting season, which starts in June, and Ms Kaplan says the magpies swoop to warn people away from their nests. It's only if you ignore them, she says, that they may become dangerous.

And it's no use for Thomson to try to fool them with his fancy bike helmet tricks.

"Magpies have incredible facial recognition," she says.

"They will remember you."


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