Bird rescued from death puts Ribble Valley village on the map after making it his home

A fledgling magpie, who was rescued from certain death after he fell from his nest, has become an international star after he made his home with the family who saved him.

Friday, 21st September 2018, 1:55 pm
Updated Friday, 21st September 2018, 2:02 pm
Mike the magpie perches on the shoulder of his owner Steve Rostron.

Mike the Magpie has lived with Steve Rostron and his partner Janine MacLean at their Sabden home since they discovered him in May on the ground while out for a walk.

It was the couple's whippet, Boo, who noticed the stricken chick on the ground behind an old telephone exchange box.

Steve said: "It was clear I had no way of getting him back into the nest and I couldn't just leave him there as he would certainly have died."

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Mike the magpie perches on the shoulder of his owner Steve Rostron.

Steve raced home and returned to the scene with Janine armed with a box which they scooped the stricken chick into.

Not sure exactly what to do the couple made the magpie a makeshift home in box on a windowsill where he lived for the next three months.

The baby bird thrived and grew on a diet of mealworms but the couple decided it was time for him to fly the nest when he started behaving aggressively towards both Steve and Boo.

Steve, who works from home as an artist, said: "He would peck at us and it was becoming a problem although Boo did not react at all to Mike."

Teacher Janine adores her pet Mike the magpie who is pictured perched on her head while she does some marking

It was heartbreaking for Janine, an English and Media teacher at Nelson's Marsden Heights Community College, as she had become very attached to Mike who is also very affectionate with her, nestling on her shoulder and head.

After releasing Mike into the open and watching him fly away the couple never dreamed he would return. But he was back the next day and eager to see the family, including Steve's daughter Isla, who is 11 and Janine's son, Alex (18).

Steve said: "We couldn't believe it when he came back and started flying along with me on a walk with Boo like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"After doing some research we discovered that birds like magpies and crows are highly intelligent and have the brain capacity of a five or six year old.

Mike the magpie had a good peck at Burnley Express and Clitheroe Advertiser videographer Kelvin Stuttard when he tried to film him.

"And that is exactly how Mike behaves, he is cheeky and full of energy."

Mike and Boo have now become the best of friends and even share a bed together sometimes. And Steve credits this to the infinite patience of the five year old dog.

The trio are a regular sight around the village and Mike is now so tame he calls to see families and neighbours by tapping on their windows with his beak.

He likes to land on people's heads or shoulders and it is a sure sign Mike likes you if he rufflles up his feathers.

Mike the magpie takes a shine to reporter Sue Plunkett's shiny blue pen!

Mike has his own cage to sleep in at night but every morning Mike takes flight and has even been spotted at Read Primary School delighting the children and staff.

Steve said: "Mike has become a little celebrity in the village now and everyone knows him."

The enchanting story has caught media attention and a video captured by the BBC is being translated so it can be broadcast abroad.

Steve said: "We like to think that Mike has put Sabden on the map."