This little bird became besties with the family who saved her life

In 2013, a sweet animal-loving family in Australia rescued a bird after she fell from a tree. After nursing her back to health, the family set her free, but she kept coming back to hang out with them. She visited, and continues to visit, so often — they now consider her to be a member of the family.

Penguin the magpie is a wild bird that has domesticated herself. She spends a lot of her time playing and cuddling with the kids who helped rescue her (Rueben, 13, Noah, 11 and Oli, 9). Their parents Cameron and Sam told ABC News Australia that Penguin waits for everyone to leave the house before she takes off for her daily activities — you know, normal bird activities that don’t involve cuddling in bed and playing catch. She returns in time to greet the kids when they get home from school. “It’s like a dog wagging its tail — she sits there in the tree and flaps her wings like she’s excited,” Cameron said.

Once they realized that Penguin seemed to be sticking around, they made sure they knew how to properly care for her. “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. . . and bought some food that these small chicks can be fed,” Cameron said. “We hand-reared her. . . and she learned to fly. It’s been really fun.”

Cameron added that Penguin also enjoys mimicking humans on demand. “If you flap your arms like wings – she’ll flap her wings. . . She spends a fair bit of time cruising inside the house, picking up the kids’ scraps and playing games. She’s pretty domesticated.”

Penguin obviously feels safe inside the family’s home, which according to Hazel Kranenburg, a volunteer from Foster Care of Australia’s Unique Native Animals Association, her feelings of safety make complete sense. Kranenburg said that rescued magpies are difficult to release back into the wild, because wild magpies can be very territorial. “Sometimes you have to go quite further afield to release them where there [are no other magpies], but they do find their own kind,” she told ABC.

Cameron noted that other wild magpies aren’t thrilled with the idea of having Penguin around. “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,” he said. Sadly, bullying isn’t just for the human kind.

Through stunning photographs on Penguin’s Instagram page, it’s very apparent that she loves her human family just as much as they love her.

Here are some stunning pictures of Penguin and her adorable (and gorgeous) family that we kind of want to be a part of:

Featured images via Instagram