During the saddest of times, you can sometimes find the greatest joys.
That’s what Australian volunteer firefighter, Matt Owens would find out on his drive home. He’d just found out his dad had terminal cancer. On that same day, he was driving home from a friend’s and saw something unusual on the side of the road. Despite the sadness of the day, he still noticed the injured baby bird on the side of the road. In Matt’s words:
“I was driving home from a friend’s house and I just saw from the corner of my eye a little ball of fluff on the side of the road and I thought, ‘oh, is that a little magpie?!’”
Subsequently, Matt brought home the baby bird and fed her every hour for a few months until she grew healthier. During that time, he named the magpie, Swoop, and both grew attached to one another.
Mr. Owens, himself, was a musician in Auckland when he left to move to the rural area of Awhitu. It was while helping others, he realized his calling as a volunteer firefighter with the Awhitu Rural Fire Force. His life motto of always helping if able to help, was certainly a driving force to help out the injured bird. He states helping others gives him a sense of purpose.
A cat and a bird
Slowly he introduced his cat, Mowgli, to the little bird.
Initially, Mowgli wondered if she was a nice little snack, but Matt told him, “No, she’s family,” and so, the bond was set. Mowgli and Swoop soon came inseparable buddies.
Matt would hear them chatting outside, and that is one thing about magpie’s -they love to chat. It’s why their name means, “idle chatter.”
A family was formed, and Mowgli and Swoop were featured on a segment of The Dodo Project. It’s not often a cat and bird become buddies. Remember Sylvester and Tweety?
Matt even thought for fun, to make an Instagram page for the two, @swoopandmowgli. The page became a somewhat hit, which surprised Matt. But who doesn’t love a feel-good story?
Matt would love to see Swoop eventually go back to the wild and find a magpie family of her own. But for now, Swoop and Mowgli are hanging out and chilling together in Awhitu, Australia.
The interesting magpie
Now, magpies are special birds because of a couple of things: they are considered one of the smartest birds with a fantastic memory, and they are known for bringing good luck or to bring about joy.
Some might wonder, did that baby magpie show up because of the sad news Matt had received because of his dad? One never knows, but in that hardship (since his dad passed) Swoop was certainly an uplift from the sadness.
Matt eventually nurtured Swoop to walking and flying, and they are often seen near his home running together. With a simple whistle, Swoop will “swoop” in and hang out on Matt’s shoulder, head, or arm.
Magpies are rather large birds since they are in the crow family, Corvidae. Swoop looks to be about half the size of Mowgli.
They can also mimic just about anything. And they remember you, whether it’s that you are their friend or their enemy. They have incredible memory, much to the duress of people who get on their bad side.
And so, if you befriend a magpie you are truly blessed with a chum for life.
So, if you happen to be in Awhitu, Australia and see a gent running along the side of the road being followed by a large magpie know that you’ve just witnessed a sweet moment of human kindness and souls that know no bounds. Give them a wave and say, “G’day mate!”