An Australian girl who died in a freak magpie attack is being remembered by her bereaved family as a “stunning little ray of sunshine.”
“The joy Mia brought to all of our lives cannot be described in words, but is certainly felt in all of our hearts,” reads the GoFundMe page, which was created by the girl’s aunts to help parents Jacob and Simone cover the cost of her funeral. So far, the fund-raiser has garnered over $110,000 (in Australian dollars).
The tragic incident occurred Sunday afternoon after Simone was accosted by one of the Oreo-colored birds while carrying the 5-month-old through Glindemann Park in Holland Park West in Brisbane, Queensland, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The mother reportedly tripped and fell while trying to avoid the dive-bombing bird, causing baby Mia to sustain critical head injuries. The tot was rushed to Queensland Children’s Hospital, where she unfortunately died.
The tragedy comes after Brisbane officials removed several magpies from the park in an attempt to curb aerial assaults, which generally occur during the breeding season between July and December, ABC reported.
“Swooping season only occurs when the male magpies are defending the chicks in the nest,” said Sean Dooley from BirdLife Australia. “While it’s only the male magpies that swoop and only 10 percent of males do swoop … the consequences, especially when people are caught unaware, can be truly terrifying and devastating.”
Suffice it to say, the infant’s family and admirers were crestfallen over her passing.
“Beautiful she was, and loved by all who got to meet her,” wrote Mia’s devastated aunts Sophie and Katie in the fund-raiser description, adding that “Mia was and forever will be the light of Jacob and Simone’s lives.”
A bereaved donor seconded their sentiment in the comments section, writing, “My heart is broken, I cannot imagine the pain you are all going through after such tragic circumstances. I’m so sorry with all of my heart. “
“Sending my condolences and heartfelt thoughts to your family at this very sad time,” added another.
Meanwhile, a witness to the horrific scene praised Mia’s father Jacob for quickly phoning emergency services while trying to do “everything he could” to save his daughter’s life, the Daily Mail reported.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a Glindemann park-goer has been dive-bombed by magpies, with many blaming one angry bird in particular.
“‘There’s a particularly aggressive one who nests every year in the large gum tree at the end of Glindemann Park,” a visitor wrote in a local Facebook group July 31. Indeed many locals reported run-ins with the ferocious featherbag, with one woman reporting that it “nipped my left ear the past two years and drew blood.”
In fact, the flyby peckings have gotten so bad that the park erected signs advising visitors to wear hats and carry umbrellas to protect themselves against the swooping squawkers. They’ve added more markers since Mia’s untimely death.
Alas, the incidents aren’t limited to Brisbane. This past October, a Melbourne man had to undergo surgery after one of the ornery avians nearly plucked out his eye in a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”