Molly the magpie: First photos released after bird returned to family

Six weeks after the Gold Coast couple surrendered Molly, the bird has been reunited with their pet dogs Peggy and Ruby.

Two new photographs of Molly the magpie have been uploaded to social media after the bird was returned to a Gold Coast couple on Monday. They show the Insta-famous bird reunited with pet dogs Peggy and Ruby, and Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen who took him home in 2020.

The first photo was uploaded to the Peggy and Molly social media accounts just hours after the group were reunited. Wells and Mortensen can be seen beaming from ear to ear. “We are overwhelmed with emotion right now. I have been visualising & looking forward to this day for what feels like a lifetime,” Wells wrote.

A second shows Molly, next to the couple's staffys Peggy and Ruby and includes the phrase "together again".

A photo shows Molly the magpie reunited with Peggy and Ruby (right). Another shows the animals as well as Wells and Mortensen.
New photos show Molly the magpie reunited with Peggy and Ruby. Source: Peggyandmolly

Six weeks earlier the pair surrendered Molly to Queensland’s department of environment after inspectors raised questions about them taking the bird home from a park without a permit when it was a juvenile in 2020. This sparked widespread calls from the couple’s supporters for the bird to be returned, and following an extraordinary intervention from Premier Steven Miles two weeks ago a licence was granted to them.

Peggy and Molly supporters excited by magpie's return

The decision to send the bird back to the couple has been applauded by their supporters.

“The best news ever!!! Well done team Molly,” one person wrote. “This is a great way to start a week! So happy for mumma Peggy now that both her children are home,” another said.

Prior to the bird’s surrender, the Peggy and Molly founders had published a book after securing a deal with Penguin Random House. They have also promoted a range of colourful items for sale at their online shop, including shirts and calendars featuring the likeness of Molly with their staffys Peggy and Ruby.

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What will happen to Peggy and Molly's profits?

Under a licensing agreement with DESI, Wells and Mortensen are no longer allowed to profit from the bird, but not all of their supporters believe the deal is fair. “Poor little Molly must feel so relieved. I do still think it’s ridiculous you can’t do a book or a movie. I would love that and would be happy for you to make millions because you have brought so much JOY to so many,” one wrote.

The Molly the magpie saga attracted global attention after Yahoo News reported it had been surrendered. The drama was reported in the United States, United Kingdom and India. More than 150,000 people signed a petition to send the bird “home”.

Not everyone is delighted with DESI’s decision to send the bird back yesterday. Many wildlife carers expressed frustration that doing so sends a message that it’s okay for members of the public to take birds home.

Under the agreement with DESI, Wells and Mortensen will have to undergo wildlife training and undertake a public education role encouraging people to appropriately care for native wildlife.

The couple's publicist confirmed with Yahoo that any profits will be sent to a reputable charity or society, but who this will be is yet to be determined.

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