Young Hawke's Bay girl adopted by friendly magpie

MEGAN HUNT
Last updated 18:17 16/12/2015
MEGAN HUNT/Stuff.co.nz

Matilda Ormond and her pet magpie have become good friends after Matilda began raising Wanda after her mother was killed in a storm.

MEGAN HUNT
Hawke's Bay girl Matilda Ormond with her magpie Wanda, watched by Wilma the heading dog.

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It's an unlikely pairing, but on a Hawke's Bay farm an old dog and orphan magpie have become the best of friends.

Matilda Ormond, 10, adopted Wanda the magpie two months ago, rescuing it after its mother died in some wild weather.

Since then, Wanda has followed Matilda everywhere, and everywhere Wanda goes, Wilma her dog is not far behind.

Matilda named the magpie after Wanda Rutkiewicz, the first woman to climb the world's second highest mountain and one of the first to climb Everest.

She said the named suited her magpie because the bird was an explorer.

Wanda often landed on visitors, followed the family around on the farm and waited for the bus to drop off Matilda after school. 

"She's just lots and lots of fun. She's so fun to play with and she's really nice to cuddle," Matilda said.

Since Wanda's arrival the family have noticed a change in Wilma, their retired working dog.

Matilda's mother Chrissy Ormond said the 14-year-old dog previously lay around the house but since discovering the bird Wilma had a new lease on life.

"We always know where Wanda is because Wilma is always watching her, she's obsessed," she said.

The magpie was equally fond of dogs, mimicking the bark of the children's pet dog Crystal.

"And the dogs accept her too as if she is part of the furniture," Chrissy said.

The unlikely friendship start a few months ago, whe the Ormonds discovered a magpie nest on their Otamauri farm, a few kilometres from their house.

Matilda would often walk out and check on the chick.

But after heavy rain in September,  Wanda's mother disappeared and Matilda moved the nest under an umbrella in a tree outside the kitchen window.

Despite appearing fully grown magpies are fed by their mothers until they reach six-months-old.

The Ormonds stepped into this role, initially feeding Wanda dog roll or small portions of mince every hour during the day.

In the past two months Wanda has been learning to fly and suffered many spills, including one which damaged her leg.

Chrissy said magpies received a bad wrap but Wanda was nice to have around.

Last month Matilda's friends at Sherenden and Districts School met Wanda at the school's pet day, where she won the award for most unusual pet.

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