Penny is an Honorary Professor in the Division of Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University. In 1987, she initiated the Norfolk Island morepork recovery program and managed it until 2008. She has extensive experience in the field ecology, behavioural ecology, and captive breeding and rehabilitation of raptors. As a consultant, her tasks have ranged from threatened species recovery plans to pest control and wind farm guidelines.
Currently, Penny mostly writes book about Australian natural history and its practitioners and is involved in projects on the ecology of the (Vulnerable) little eagle in the Australian Capital Territory and landscape ecology of the wedge-tailed eagle in Western Australia. She is Deputy Chair of the ACT Scientific Committee and a member of BirdLife Australia Threatened Species Committee.