In a media promo of this film on ABC, they described the magpie as injured but it looked to me like it was just an adopted fledgling and they were using the
word injured as a wrong euphemism for what had happened. You use the word stray. I don’t know if the film does, but how does a Magpie become a stray in Sydney? Given the way these things are done it would be odd if it doesn’t involve inserting false noises
or effects. Did the credits list a foley artist? That would be a clue.
The on-line trailer shows not much about the bird, but it is mostly a very early fledgling magpie and what may be this grunt sound is I think consistent with a begging sound of a young magpie. So is it only when young, that it makes that sound? If so, that
would probably be real. A film could of course distort time lines too.
I don’t know as I haven’t seen it but it could also be quite feasible that an adopted magpie might make odd noises.
From: Canberrabirds [
On Behalf Of Alison
Sent: Monday, 8 February, 2021 10:28 PM
To: ; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Film "Penguin Bloom" - genuine Magpie cries?
I have heard about this film but have not seen it. However, I read Gisela Kaplan’s first book on magpies where she writes that once a magpie has established a territory, they will imitate local noises.
I can verify this by having one female magpie in my local area that would imitate a car alarm. I was very sad when their territory was taken over and I no longer heard her making this call.
Perhaps the ‘grunting’ magpie is also imitating a sound it has heard.
On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, 8 February 2021 10:15 PM
To: Canberra Birds <>
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Film "Penguin Bloom" - genuine Magpie cries?
We recently watched and enjoyed the film “Penguin Bloom”, set in Sydney’s northern beaches, in which the Bloom family “adopt” a stray magpie, which changes their lives – particularly of the mother who had become a paraplegic and, unsurprisingly,
We were, however, puzzled at the film’s version of magpie cries. In addition to the well known melodious magpie calls (no problem there), the bird appeared to be making an altogether different call – frequently – which was a series of
short, quite low and to us unrecognisable-from-a-magpie sound. We felt it was almost a grunt.
We realise that birds can and do emit quite a range of different calls, but we’ve never heard a magpie utter these ones!
Has anyone else watched “Penguin Bloom” and, if so, were you convinced of the authenticity of all the calls made by the magpie (which we assume may in fact have been dubbed for the purposes of the film, for which also it’s likely that at
least several different magpies would have been “recruited”).
Kevin and Gwenyth Bray