Australian cyclist dies while fleeing swooping bird

A 76-year-old Australian cyclist has died in a bicycle crash while trying to escape from a swooping magpie.

The man was riding his bike in Nicholson Park in Wollongong, south of Sydney, on Sunday when he veered off the path and crashed into a park fence . He was thrown to the ground and suffered serious head injuries.

Despite paramedics’ efforts to save him, the man later died in hospital, the police said.

Swooping magpies are a common threat in Australia during spring and often cause injuries to cyclists and pedestrians, but fatal incidents are rare.

Police officials said they would prepare a report for a coroner. According to local media reports, several other magpie attacks had previously taken place in the park.

The Australian magpie is a different species to the European bird with which it shares its name. During mating season, the bird can become aggressive and attack humans crossing its territory.

Earlier in September, a local Sydney council sparked controversy when rangers shot dead a “monster” magpie which had intimidated residents for years.