Well, it turns out swoopy boys aka magpies are far less swoopy in Tasmania and basically never attack humans, unless provoked.
The idea that maggies swoop less has been floating around for years, but was mostly thought of as an urban legend. However, when you look at the data, that ‘urban myth’ may not be such a myth after all.
On 2GB today, radio host Ben Fordham discussed the idea that there are rarely any attacks down south.
“Well, over the weekend a mate of mine by the name of Bruno claimed that in Tasmania magpies don’t swoop and I thought – this is another Bruno classic fib, or a made up tale,” he said.
“Well it turns out he’s right. We’ve checked it out and it’s true.
“No one knows why. Of the 3000 reported attacks in 2019, only one is listed from Tasmania and according to Tassies, they don’t swoop in Tasmania.”
The National Magpie Alert which tracks aggressive swooping magpies in your area, only shows only one swoopy boy attack in Tassie, and thankfully the man was not injured.
“Cheeky bugger swooped twice as I was riding … Didn’t make contact but clicked beak loudly a few times,” the man reported on the website.
This year has been a big swooping season, with 4272 attacks reported on the website and 541 injuries.
Some of the injuries have been particularly bad, with a man in Gippsland being severely hit in the eye and a woman in Sale also suffering an eye injury.
Last year, the ABC looked at the Tasmanian magpie anomaly, but couldn’t actually figure out why magpies were less swoopy there.
“For whatever reason Tasmanian magpies don’t swoop in the same way that mainland magpies swoop,” BirdLife Tasmania ornithologist Eric Woehler said.
“Whether it’s just simply that they are a bit more chill down here and a bit less stressed about people or that they don’t breed close to people, which brings out this defence behaviour, we don’t know,” he added.
There’s nothing fundamentally different about Tasmanian magpies compared to mainland ones. But there is a possibility that they might have a slightly different genetic makeup, as the ones that first settled in Tasmania may have been less aggressive, according to Woehler.
Look whatever the reason is, just leave ME alone. The last thing I need is a magpie damaging these beautiful brown eyes.