Photo: Ray Piper. The breeding pair of Australian king parrots were not ringed, as Mr Piper did not plan to exhibit them. Nothing else was missing from the property, so he believes the thieves came prepared and brought a cage or bag to transport the birds 

A HAMPSHIRE BIRDKEEPER was shocked to return home from his holiday to find that two of his parrots had been stolen – but approximately 100 other birds had been left untouched.

In an ironic twist of fate, while Ray Piper and his wife were in Australia watching Australian king parrots (Alisterus scapularis) in the wild, his treasured pair of kings were being stolen from his garden aviary in the UK.

Mr Piper, who has kept birds for almost 70 years and is the long-serving chairman of Havant CBS, explained: “At the end of November last year, we made a trip to Australia and New Zealand to visit relatives and incorporate some bird watching. My wife and I were happily enjoying watching various parrots, parakeets and lorikeets in Australia and unbeknownst to us some unpleasant individual was busy forcing entry to my collection!”

Mr Piper has two birdrooms and 16 aviaries containing a mixed collection of more than 100 birds, including Gouldian finches, waxbills, Pekin robins and a royal starling. It is believed that his breeding pair of kings (pictured right) – which were not ringed – were taken in the first week of December 2017. Entry was gained to Mr Piper’s garden by climbing a high gate and cutting through an electric fence. The parrots were taken from the sleeping area of one of the aviaries, which the thieves accessed by unbolting the panel of the covered area. The crime has been reported to the local police.

Mr Piper continued:  “Whoever this person was, they decided not to steal anything else from my extensive mixed collection, which is a mystery to me. I can only think that the thieves liked the look of the kings, as they are not particular rare or valuable in birdkeeping terms, but they are very attractive birds.”

Did you see anything? Please contact the National Theft Register on 01869 325 699. A reward has been offered for the birds’ safe return.

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