Springtime is coming. I know this because yesterday, the first fly of springtime attempted to enter my ear.
Aussie flies seem to like trying to enter bodily orifices – ears, nose, eyes – and are the real reason why Aussies have never thoroughly embraced the idea of the nudist beach. Probably.
The notion of spring, and the change in behaviour of the local fauna, was actually brought to mind by an article I read in a UK newspaper about the aggressive behaviour of seagulls in Cornwall.
Cornish seagulls aren’t likely to bother us in Canberra, but even though we hadn’t arrived in time for last spring, the tales of animal attacks lingered long after summer had established its warm grip.
The first sign that something might be awry came from cyclists actually. We would regularly be passed by cyclists wearing a protective helmets that had been adapted with plastic prongs to look like something from a brain-transplantation experiment or a 1930s horror movie.
“Are they radio aerials?” asked mini-CBRbound. No. They were cable ties, arranged in a pattern designed to simulate spiky hair for those of us who may no longer experience that luxury naturally.
The reason, it seems, is that, come nesting season, Canberra’s magpies become very protective of the areas around their homes. Anything that comes too close – dog, cat, cyclist, pedestrian – can be deemed a threat and the magpies swoop, peck and claw to warn the intruder off.
Last year, a few Canberrans even took it upon themselves to seek revenge on the birds, prompting a reminder that such attacks are against the law.
We haven’t experienced any of this yet, and I’m wondering whether we should stock up on cable ties now, before there’s a run on them at the DIY store.
Either way, the prospect of being clawed and gouged makes the flies’ attempts to take up residence in my ears and nose seem a relatively benign irritant. And that’s before I even think about all the spiders and snakes that are all about to hatch and seek out new homes.