Bird attacks Broome diner in breakfast ambush

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Lance Smith, 57, was attacked by a magpie-lark while out for breakfast.
Camera IconLance Smith, 57, was attacked by a magpie-lark while out for breakfast. Credit: Lance Smith

A Broome man is lucky to still have full vision after being attacked by an aggressive bird while out for breakfast last week.

Lance Smith, 57, had just sat down in the outdoor decking area for his morning meal at Zanders restaurant near Cable Beach last Tuesday, when a magpie lark swooped on him and clawed his right eye.

Mr Smith said he did not feel too much pain at first, but was very shocked and confused.

“When I arrived at Zanders, I noticed the warning sign that was up about magpies and kept my sunglasses on as I was sitting in the outdoor area,” he said.

“I took them off for what was probably only one minute because I was reading the menu and that is when I was attacked.”

The fish and chip shop owner rushed to the bathroom to rinse the gushing blood, before driving himself to Broome Hospital.

Doctors took the Broome local in immediately and said he had a lacerated sclera, meaning a tear to the white of the eye, but was only millimetres away from what could have been permanent damage to his vision.

Mr Smith said although he was feeling immense pain, he was relieved to have no serious injuries. “It didn’t feel very painful at the time, but my eye has been very sore since.

“Honestly, I feel lucky more than anything else because it was a near miss to where it could have gotten really nasty.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said wildlife officers from Parks and Wildlife Services were notified about the incident.

“(Officers) have removed its nest to deter the bird from swooping,” they said.

“In the Kimberley, magpie larks nest from September to March. It’s not unusual for the department to receive reports of swooping during that time.

“Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a simple and effective form of protection. Adopting a confident stance towards the bird also has a strong deterrent effect.”

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