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The NZ locations you're most likely to be attacked by a magpie

Magpies are causing havoc in Australia, injuring several children and potentially blinding them - but New Zealanders aren't safe from the aggressive birds either.

In a Western Australia park that's become a swooping hotspot, a terrifying magpie attack threatened the eyesight of four-year-old Indie and five-year-old Finn.

In another attack the next day, 15-month-old Max became the second victim to be struck by a magpie.

"They wiped the blood away from his face and thankfully it had narrowly missed his eyes," his mother Joanna Angelucci said.

Magpie attacks are common, and not just in Australia.

In 2007, a cyclist was attacked by one of the birds 10 times while cycling through the Port Hills.

More than 100 people have been injured in magpie attacks in New Zealand in the last five years; 88 of those happened during spring.

The most dangerous places were Canterbury with 24 attacks, Auckland with 18 and the Waikato with 16.

Otago University Zoology Associate Professor Yolanda van Heezik says their aerial assault is a defence mechanism when people enter the territory of mother magpies protecting their offspring.

"If they see someone coming to their nest, they will protect their family by swooping at them."

So what to do if one does sneak up on you from behind?

"They get more infuriated if you flap your arms and swing around, so best to act calm and walk away," she advises.

That's perhaps easier said than done when an angry magpie has you in its sights.

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