Meet the Australian Identical Twins Teaming up to Save Birds

These twins have a magic touch when it comes to helping wounded seabirds, dedicating their lives to rescuing wildlife.

May 15, 2021
Meet the Australian Identical Twins Teaming up to Save Birds | These twins have a magic touch when it comes to helping wounded seabirds, dedicating their lives to rescuing wildlife.

Millions of people around the globe were introduced to identical twins Paula and Bridgette Powers after their interview on Good Morning Britain went viral. Dressed in matching outfits and speaking in unison, the twins focused on the closeness of their relationship. But while some viewed the Australian sisters as a novelty act, the dynamic duo have dedicated their lives to an important cause.

The Powers twins are the founders and managers of Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue, a nonprofit organization that has saved the lives of 187 species of wildlife. Over the last 16 years, the facility has cared for thousands of sick, injured, and displaced birds, including kookaburras, Australasian darters, and egrets.

The twins’ journey to founding the organization began after a serendipitous encounter with zookeeper Steve Irwin, host of the wildly popular Crocodile Hunter TV show. Irwin had been called from the Australia Zoo to the Pumicestone Passage Bay on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, where an injured sea turtle was stranded.

When Irwin arrived on the scene, he was shocked to find the Powers twins already there, comforting the wounded turtle. The twins’ sister, Liz Eather, told ABC Australia in April 2021 that Irwin was extremely impressed by their natural veterinary abilities. Irwin’s father confirmed that he spotted an innate affinity for animals in the twins.

“Steve had a skill for being able to recognize special things that people might have," said Bob Irwin. “And he would have recognized that they were two young ladies who would be of great benefit to the zoo and also to wildlife in general. He would have known.”

Not long after the meeting, Irwin invited the twins to work at the Australia Zoo. After several years of working hands-on with the animals, they decided to start their own wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, focused on nursing wounded and orphaned birds back to health.

“Some birds stay in care for a week, [some] up to 14 months,” said the twins in a video interview with filmmaker Mario Hanousek. “It all depends on their injuries...we just give them their TLC, what they need.”

According to veterinarian and TV host Chris Brown, the twins have an almost psychic ability to detect which ailments are affecting a bird. “One of the true strengths the twins possess is this incredible ability to read a bird and just watch it for 30 seconds and almost know medically what's going on with it," he told ABC. “You can go to university for years and years and not be able to do that."

Beyond being able to diagnose birds almost instantly, the twins have healing hands that can revive even the most hopeless of cases. “I have seen [the] Twinnies perform miracles,” said their friend Claire Smith. “I've seen birds with open fractures, I've seen birds without beaks, and I've seen very broken birds put back together with Twinnie magic.”

Although their initial media appearance may be viewed as an oddity of sorts, the twins’ hard work and unparalleled devotion to saving birds has earned them the respect of the Australian public. Visually striking due to their matching outfits - they dress identically every day. There’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to Paula and Bridgette Powers.

By harnessing their “Twinnie magic” to provide loving care to wounded birds, the pair are making sure that their feathered friends grace the sky above once again. 

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Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.