This sounds too strange to be true, but apparently Tasmanian magpies don’t swoop.
The strange phenomenon was recently raised on 2GB radio, and sure enough, a quick look at Magpie Alert shows only one swoop incident in Tasmania so far this season. This is compared to 4241 attacks recorded across the rest of the country. On top of that, the one lonely Tassie swooping wasn’t even that serious. The cyclist/swoop victim reported that the cheeky devil swooped, but didn’t make contact.
So this begs the question, why don’t Tassie magpies swoop?
Last year BirdLife Tasmania ornithologist Eric Woehler told the ABC “for whatever reason Tasmanian magpies don’t swoop in the same way that mainland magpies swoop,” however no one seems to know why.
“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.”
According to Doctor Woehler, Tasmanian magpies are really no different to mainland maggies, other than seeming less inclined to swoop.
As someone who has copped at least one nasty swooping here in Ballarat, and plenty of other minor swoopings, I can’t help but wonder what we did to make our local maggies so angry.