Peggy and Molly: Couple respond to 'ominous' fears for famous magpie

Molly the magpie had only just left the spotlight before returning to headlines this week following a 'confusing' social media post.

A screen shot of the image of Molly and Peggy on Instagram, beside a view of the comments it received, showing an outpour of concern.
Many raised concerns over the image's authenticity and wondered what prompted the cryptic message. Source: Instagram

The adoptive family of Molly the Instagram-famous magpie have responded to concerns over the bird's welfare after an "ominous" post appeared online earlier this week.

Beside the caption "you will always have a special place in my heart", an image of Molly was uploaded to social media on Monday having been seemingly edited into a photo of Peggy, the bird's faithful companion. People responding to the "confusing" image said they interpreted the caption as having "sad" undertones.

Many raised concerns over the image's authenticity — which appears to be individual photos of Molly and Peggy edited into one image— and pondered what prompted the cryptic message. "This is really ominous. Has someone passed away?" one responder said.

"I didn’t quite understand the message of this photograph, is something wrong?" said another. Somebody else asked if "everything was alright" while another questioned "which one died?".

Molly, seen in a carrier bag, was reunited with its staffy best mates Peggy and Ruby at the couple's Queensland home.
The heartwarming moment Molly the magpie was reunited with its staffy best mates has was captured on camera in April. Source: Instagram

Disappointed fans commented that "it’s not fair to post something suggesting that one of them passed away. It’s not fair at all to make us feel sorry and sad," a woman wrote. Meanwhile, others took aim at the alleged "Photoshopping".

Each concerned comment attracted an onslaught of responses of their own, prompting the couple behind the viral magpie's notoriety, Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, to eventually issue a statement.

Juliette Wells with Peggy and Molly the magpie in an image on the left, beside the bird with its two dog companions on the right.
Juliette Wells with Peggy and Molly the magpie who have been featured in a book and on television. Source: Instagram

"Despite headlines from media outlets about 'Fears around Molly the magpie' MOLLY, PEGGY & RUBY ARE HEALTHY HAPPY AND LOVING LIFE," they said on Instagram. "Well we certainly do know how to get in the headlines.

"We will continue to spread happiness and positivity as we do. Any news about these beautiful animals will come directly from us so just be careful what you read."

Queensland couple Wells and Mortensen say they rescued Molly the magpie when the bird was a chick in 2021, claiming on social media they found the animal injured on the street and were unable to reunite it with its family. The duo became famous online in the ensuing years for the bird's relationship with the couple's pet dog Peggy — with Juliette even having a book published about them.

With now over 950,000 followers on Instagram, the couple have shared videos of Molly's interactions with Peggy, showing the bird and the dog playing together in daily updates. It all came to an abrupt end in March after the bird was surrendered, only for it to be eventually returned six weeks later following community uproar and intervention from the Queensland premier.

The announcement infuriated many of Australia’s wildlife volunteers, who fear it could lead to copycats thinking it’s okay to take animals from the wild, introduce them to pets, and document the interactions on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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