Damian Bathersby.
Damian Bathersby. Sunshine Coast Daily

OPINION: What if magpies had their own union?

LADIES and gentlemen, welcome to the annual general meeting of SWOOP - the Society of Winged Oppressors and Other Predators (Magpie Division).

It's good to see so many of you make the effort to be here today.

I'd just like to say how nice it is to hold a divisional meeting of just the black and white brothers, rather than the full chapter of SWOOP which, we all know, is usually dominated by those show-off eagles and plovers.

I won't take too much of your time today because I know you've all got children to attack but there's a few things we need to discuss.

The first one, I'm afraid, involves a serious breach of nest protection protocol.

You would have all seen the reports of the little kiddie getting attacked at Maleny.

It's not a good look, people! Not a good look at all.

Brother Ralph has filed a full report on the incident and although it once again boils down to the usual media hysteria over the actions of a brother just doing what Mother Nature intended a brother to do, he has offered to give the family a full apology once nesting season is over.

I think it's important to note that we rely on these sort of people for snacks the rest of the year so we shouldn't let a little bit of nesting season argy-bargy ruin it for everyone.

Moving on, we held an executive meeting at Brother Jeremy's nest last week (thanks Marjorie for the platter of fresh slugs - they were delicious!) when we decided it was timely to remind members of some key nesting season issues.

I don't think we have to say any more about swooping after the Brother Ralph situation but if anyone does feel they need some help, we're holding swooping accuracy training this weekend.

Following reports that some of the younger members are falling for a few of the old tricks, we also thought we should remind you of some of the ruses that humans have been using since Adam was a boy (and my great, great grandfather swooped that little bugger too, by the way!).

Brothers, please don't embarrass yourselves by falling for the old "pointy thing in the cyclist's helmet” routine.

A simple Google check will show you it's just a new version of the "kid wearing an ice-cream container with eyes glued on the back” trick.

They're not clever and it only damages the SWOOP brand when we are seen to fall for them.

Speaking of the brand, we have a motion on the books from Brother Alexander regarding a name change for the organisation.

He suggests the absence of the word "magpie" in our branding is an oversight and suggests we use of the acronym SMACK - The Society of Magpies Against Cyclists and Kids.

I've spoken to the good brother and pointed out that while a name change would distinguish us from other attack birds, we really don't want to be seen as one-trick ponies.

There's much more to us than a couple of months of dive-bombing and I suggest SWOOP already has strong brand recognition in the community while SMACK would send a message that we intend physical violence against children, rather than just scaring the sh*# out of them.

All those in favour of retaining the existing name raise a wing.


So that's about it for another season.

You can pay your annual fees to Valerie down at the back table and don't forget what I said about accuracy training this weekend.

Straight back to your nests please and no stopping at the pub - we don't want another drunken brawl with the crows like that embarrassing incident last year.

And remember, as the great Mel Gibson once said, "They can take away our trees but they'll never take our freedom to swoop".

Good night.

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