Call of the wild as family's beloved magpie disappears
A SPECIAL family member has gone missing from the Vogler household in Warwick, after a disorienting six-hour drive across the country.
Maggie the magpie has been Jason Vogler's best little buddy since he found her three years ago, abandoned and defenceless on the ground beneath her nest.
"She was so little she couldn't do anything on her own," Jason said.
"She had one broken toe on her left foot, and she had a sore wing so she couldn't fly.
"She was just starving and hungry, so we had to teach her how to eat and drink."
Every day, Jason would feed Maggie worms or mince, mixed with insect powder, and take her outside in hopes her parents would reclaim her.
But they never did.
It was the beginning of a strong bond between the man and his wild bird.
Maggie gradually became so comfortable around the family she slept on their ceiling fans, followed them around the house, and curled up for cuddles in their outstretched hands.
"She loves to be patted, she'll just flop right down in your hands," Jason said.
"If she hears us or sees us in the yard she will fly in and land on our shoulder. She barks like the dogs do.
"She's free as a bird when she chooses to be, but she acts like a pet."
Maggie has a close relationship with the family's other pets, and enjoys playing gently with the kitten when they're sitting together on the sofa.
But now, the entire family is missing her, after she moved with them from Port Macquarie to Warwick.
"We moved her with us because she wouldn't be able to survive without someone looking after her," Jason said.
"In the car, the whole way up, she was good as gold, and when we got out she flew around the house three times before settling on the trailer while I unloaded it."
Unfortunately for Maggie, the yard was already occupied by a flock of pre-existing magpies, who did not take kindly to their new neighbour.
"She was sitting on the veranda when they came and belted into her," Jason said.
"She tried to fly away, but we could see four of them had a hold on her as she was flying.
"We ran up after them, but we couldn't find her anywhere."
Maggie was last seen near the Hungry Jacks parking lot, and some say they've sighted her as far away as Freestone Rd and the Alexander Motel in Warwick.
The Vogler family is desperate to find their feathered friend, and urges the public to keep an eye out for her.
"If someone does find her, the best thing to do is gently approach her and talk to her, then squat down and put their hand out," Jason said.
"If she hops up on them, it's her, if not, it's a wild one.
"She's not afraid of people."
Maggie has a toe on her left foot that curls into the middle toe, and her left leg is turned in towards her right side to help her balance. Her white patches err on the side of a pale grey, and she walks with a "cute little limp" after her right leg was broken in the wild, later in life.
If you do suspect you've seen Maggie, please call Jason on 0427 431 213.