'Lock aviaries' call after thefts
A SPATE of bird thefts in Grafton and South Grafton has left a trail of upset owners while pet traders have called on pet lovers to tighten security.
The Examiner has heard of two lorikeets, up to 10 budgerigars, a blue ringneck and a cockatoo stolen or missing in the past fortnight.
Fish Scales and Furry Tales owner Pat Keener said at least six people had contacted him to ask if there was anyone trying to sell him birds.
"We know who we are buying our birds from," Mr Keener said.
"Besides I don't think they'd be stupid enough to try and sell them locally - aside from the risk, they'd get much more for them on the Gold Coast or in the cities."
The Pet Barn at Nerang provided retail prices for several species, including young cockatoos which could fetch up to $800, hand-raised rainbow lorikeets $295, blue ringnecks $250 and budgies $35.
Elizabeth Tkalec said her daughter Charley, 8, cried at home and school over the theft of the family's rainbow lorikeet Paulie from the front veranda on Sunday, September 18.
Ms Tkalec said she covered Paulie's cage about 9pm that evening and that was the last time she saw him.
"My bedroom window is right on the veranda and he's usually a noisy bird so I have no idea how they did it ... they took some toys and even put him into another small cage we had out there so they knew what they were doing," she said.
Teresa Woodley of Powell St, Grafton said she would be pad- locking her front yard aviaries after having up to 10 budgies stolen, including four baby birds, around Monday, September 19.
"The next day, I was sitting out the front with friends and I thought 'it looks like I've lost some birds'," Ms Woodley said.
"Then on Sunday I saw a breeding box on the side of the road so I picked it up and took it home and it was one of mine.
"I'm upset to put it mildly, I get very attached to my birds."
The Examiner was unable to contact several other bird owners who had reported their birds stolen.
A poster declaring the cockatoo Ned missing from a South Grafton address can be found in several locations in Grafton.
Iven Craig from Craig's Bird Place said he thought Ned was about 12 months old.
He agreed with Mr Keener's assessment that the thieves, if they didn't keep the birds themselves, would look for buyers outside the area.
"I've had 18 years in this pet shop and I've never been sold a bird I believed was stolen," Mr Craig said.
Grafton police declined to comment on the spate.