How a woman won $17,000 from her employer Woolworths over a bird attack.

Magpies may have been voted as Australia’s favourite bird last year, but here’s a reminder that they really can be terrifying.

Anita Smith was walking to work at the Kiama Village Shopping Centre in NSW on May 14th when a magpie-lark, also known as a peewee, swooped her, causing a “severe” injury, according to Nine News.

Now her employer, Woolworths, has been ordered to pay her $17,000 in lost wages plus medical bills after the injury to her right eye left her unable to work.

Smith had to have surgery in July to repair what she described in her claim as an “inturned central part of the right eye flap” and was unable to work for 25 weeks.

She claimed Woolworths should have done something to protect its employees, however they argued they were not liable to pay the damages as she was not working at the time.

The Workers Compensation Commission rejected their appeal and ordered the supermarket to pay Smith the compensation last month.

Image: Getty

"It is extremely unlikely that Ms Smith would have been attacked by the peewee at that time, had she not been in the course of her employment", arbitrator John Harris said.

The Australian native bird who attacked Smith had been terrorising the shopping precinct, with 10 other people attending the local optometrist after being targeted, according to the Illawarra Mercury.

The council had placed two imitation owls on top of the centre to try and deter the bird but evidently it had not been successful.

Image via Getty.

Magpies are known for their intelligence - they can actually remember your face for up to five years.

"They know everyone, they watch kids grow up. When they decide to start treating that person as a threat, they know where they live. They can victimise someone easily," behavioural ecologist named Dr Darryl Jones said.

The bird in question was killed in June after the council was given a cull permit by National Parks and Wildlife.