By Sara Boboltz In late 2013, 10-year-old Noah Bloom found a deserted magpie chick in a New South Wales suburb. After taking her home and giving her a towel as a bed, the Blooms called a veterinarian friend of the family for advice. They could hand the bird over to an authority, but, being young and abandoned by other magpies, they were told she’d probably be put down. So the Blooms bought some baby bird feed, gave her a name — “Penguin” — and raised her themselves.
Oh, and they set up an Instagram account, which has so far attracted over 27,000 followers.
Soft perch @oli_bloom
A photo posted by Penguin Bloom (@penguinthemagpie) on May 21, 2014 at 12:12am PDT
Since then, Penguin has become like family to husband-and-wife Cameron and Sam Bloom, along with their sons Reuben, Noah and Oli. They set her outside at night to sleep on a branch or in the eaves, but say that she’s good at sneaking back into the house through an open door or window. Cameron Bloom told The Huffington Post she’ll often curl into bed with one of the kids, or sleep below a painting of herself that Sam had created.
Seriously need my own headphones.
A photo posted by Penguin Bloom (@penguinthemagpie) on Sep 6, 2014 at 12:47am PDT
Magpies have been known to make unusual friends — which is good for Penguin since most of the wild magpies around the Blooms’ house like to bully and peck at her. She’s not a pushover, though. While Penguin gets along well with the Blooms and their young sons’ friends, certain guests might be greeted with a threatening peck. But Penguin the magpie is probably the world’s least terrifying guard dog bird.
The birds are also remarkably good at mimicking sounds around them — YouTube has plenty of examples. Penguin has learned to copy some meowing noises the Bloom boys make at her, as a game.
Getting the weetbix out of the molars @oli_bloom
A photo posted by Penguin Bloom (@penguinthemagpie) on Aug 26, 2014 at 4:53pm PDT
She’s talented, too, at maneuvering around the house. Cameron, a professional photographer, has snapped many pictures of her just chilling out on someone’s foot or head.
“What she does is she’ll hop,” Cameron told HuffPost. “She’ll hop up the chair, then the table, until she’s sitting on your head. It’s sort of a progression.”
See below for more photos of Penguin — whose name was given by Noah, thinking, of course, that she looked kind of like a penguin.