Aww!
Family save a baby magpie that turns out to be family’s saving grace
Penguin came into their lives when the family needed him most.
Elle Holder
09.01.20

It’s never a good thing when a bird falls from a tree, especially when it’s a baby bird.

However, for Penguin at least, we have a case of right time, right place. I’m sure the fall was traumatizing for the baby Australian Magpie but it’s what happened next that changes the course of her life and begins a beautiful and unusual relationship.

And it turns out it was a case of being in the right place at the right time for the Bloom family too, not just the bird. Their meeting intersected at a very difficult time for Blooms.

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

How the Story Begins

Six months before Sam Bloom and her then 10-year-old son Noah stumbled upon the baby magpie, tragedy struck the family from Sydney, Australia. While vacationing in Thailand with her family, husband Cameron and sons Reuben, Noah, and Oli, she fell twenty feet from a rooftop. She’d been through surgery and rehab and was trying to come to terms with never being able to walk again.

And then one day while with her son he finds a bird that has fallen from a tree. The parallels aren’t hard to see.

In an interview with Jules Sebastian, a Sydney based TV presenter, Bloom said,

“We couldn’t have left her there. She would have died—she could hardly walk. She couldn’t fly.”

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

It’s assumed that she was blown out of a tree by a strong wind and carried for some distance. Mother and son looked for a nest but couldn’t find one.

And after months of being the center of attention as her family worried about her, she points to one of the advantages of picking the bird up and taking it home.

“I liked it because she took all the focus off me, and we all focused our energy on Penguin.”

Penguin Becomes Part of the Family

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

With her black body and white wings, the name Penguin seemed to be appropriate, and she became Penguin Bloom, a member of the family.

Showing their seriousness and responsibility when it came to their newly adopted magpie, the Bloom’s spoke with a vet to find out the best way of taking care of it.

They shared with ABC News,

“A mate is a vet. He just gave me a few tips on looking after her, and I researched a bit and spoke to another local vet in Mona Vale and bought some food that these small chicks can be fed.”

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

As they began hand feeding Penguin, they also began to document her progress and posting photo’s to PenguintheMagpie’s Instagram account.

Before they knew it, Penguin was something of a social media celebrity. And she’d truly become part of the family.

The DailyMail reports on what Cameron Bloom said.

“I never thought she’d become as much a part of the family as she has. They [the kids] love her like a dog, but better.”

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

It Wasn’t all Smooth Sailing

While her life with the Blooms couldn’t have been better, Penguin did face challenges. She was often attacked by other magpies in the neighborhood.

Cameron Bloom explains how bad things were.

“She might be in the tree out the front of the house, getting worms out of the garden, and if other magpies are around she’ll make a beeline for the house and fly in here so she doesn’t get bombed and pecked. They really attack her. They’ve made her bleed.”

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

Hazel Kranenburg, a Queensland volunteer of Foster Care of Australia’s Unique Native Animals Association (F.A.U.N.A.) tells ABC that magpies are very territorial birds. Despite that, she does say they are generally sweet birds.

“They sing beautifully. They’re a lovely bird, they’re not that aggressive—only come breeding season.”

Penguin Grows Up

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

For two years the bond between Penguin and the Blooms grew, but Penguin was still a wild creature. And one day, she flew away. Much like children grow up and leave the nest.

The family didn’t know if she would ever come back. They understood her need to fly free but did hope to see her again. In fact, Sam Bloom joked about it.

“As a joke I said it would be great if she came back on Rueben’s 13th birthday—and she did.”

She shares what happened that day.

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

“I got a call from a neighbor over the hill who said she thought she had Penguin, and so I raced over in my car and sure enough Penguin was sitting in their lounge room. I took a video of the moment Rueben spotted Penguin—he was beside himself. He said it was the best birthday ever.”

Penguin continued to come and go but seems to have a bit of a schedule. Cameron Bloom explains.

“She’s here at 3:30pm usually when the kids get home from school. She sings when they come up the driveway. She usually hangs around until night and then I put her in the tree outside somewhere.”

Penguin Leaves the Nest for Good

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

After three years with the Blooms, Penguin left for good.

Sam Bloom was in Italy at the time, competing with the Australian Paracanoe team. And despite what I’m sure was a measure of sadness at her leaving, the family was philosophical about it. They talked about her,

“…coming at the perfect time and leaving at the perfect time.”

But the Story Doesn’t End There

Sometime after Penguin finally left for good, the family adopted two more baby magpies. They too fell out of a tree during windy weather. This may seem like an awful coincidence, but according to Pet and Wildlife Rescue (P.A.W.),

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

“Nestlings (the featherless baby birds) are sometimes blown out of their nest on a windy day or during a storm. And sometimes, the whole nest comes down.”

They were found not far from where Penguin was rescued, and the family thinks there’s a good chance they are relations. And they named them Puffin and Panda—staying true to the black and white themed names, not to mention the “P” names.

Cameron Bloom told Daily Mail Australia,

“Our hope is that, like Penguin, they will return to the wild as soon as they are strong enough to survive on their own.”

Which is exactly what happened. Like Penguin, Puffin and Panda eventually flew away for good.

Penguin the Magpie / Instagram
Source:
Penguin the Magpie / Instagram

The family documented their time with Penguin in a book entitled Penguin Bloom and there is a move in production about the story as well.

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By Elle Holder
hi@sbly.com
Elle Holder is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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