Australian man hospitalised with serious eye injuries after magpie attack

It's currently 'swooping season' in Australia.
It's currently 'swooping season' in Australia. Photo credit: Getty

An Australian man has sustained serious eye injuries after being attacked by a magpie.

James Glindemann was eating his lunch outside of a shopping centre in Sale, eastern Victoria, on Tuesday when the incident occured.

"I sat down at a bench there and the magpie came up and I started talking to it because I like them," he told ABC News.

"And it looked at me and I didn't give it any food, so it just attacked me. First it struck my left eye and when it landed back on the ground, I didn't drop my food and so it attacked me again in the right eye."

The 68-year-old business owner sustained damage to both eyes from the attack, ABC News reported.

"There was some blood that was dripping at one stage and it covered my eyes … I could barely see, but I managed to find my car and I rang 000," he said.

Glindemann was taken by paramedics to Central Gippsland Hospital, but doctors made the decision to fly him to Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne for surgery.

"It turned out there was no actual damage to the right eyeball itself, but the area around it was very inflamed," Glindemann told ABC News.

"But the magpie seems to have penetrated the cornea in my left eye and so the doctors repaired that. I think the procedure took about two hours.

"My vision in both eyes are blurred at the moment … but I think doctors are confident that my sight will come back."

It's currently 'swooping season' in Australia as the birds breed and guard their nests, leading to increased injuries.

Dr Thomas Campbell from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital told ABC they treat about 60 patients a year with bird-related eye injuries.

He said several people in the Sale area had visited in the past couple of weeks.

"Magpies are beautiful birds that are just doing their best to co-exist with us, and unfortunately sometimes we interact with them and harm is a result of that … so I don't think we should blame the birds entirely," he said.

The Victorian Government has set up a swooping bird map where residents can report where they have seen swooping incidents.