Mischievous Ribble Valley magpie grounded by owner after causing 'mayhem' in Greggs

A mischievous Ribble Valley magpie has been grounded by his owner after he caused “mayhem” in a branch of his local Greggs.

By John Deehan
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:44 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:44 am

'Diva' bird Mike shot to fame in 2018 after a video of him squawking "Merry Christmas" went viral and he struck up an unlikely bond with his owner's whippet.

But fed up Janine MacLean, 53, has now revealed the troublesome magpie has spent the last three years locked up in an avery after his unruly behaviour got out of hand.

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Janine MacLean, 49, with Mike the tame magpie.

Her partner, Steve Rostron, came across the "distressed" magpie when he was four months old while out walking with his whippet, called Boo Radley.

And after he nursed him back to health, Boo and Mike became inseparable - sharing food, going on walks and snuggling up together on the sofa during the evenings.

But Janine said Mike – who learned how to say words by listening to Classic FM – has now been caged after he went missing and caused havoc in the beloved British bakery.

She said: “He was free free to fly around and would usually turn up in the evening but he'd been missing for two days.

"He eventually turned up in a local Greggs, and he obviously caused mayhem there.

“He was flying around and jumping on the counter, talking to people. People just thought that a magpie had gone mad.

“I’m not sure why he went there. He must have heard about their steak bakes or their sausage rolls."

Janine, from Sabden, said Mike had started to “terrorise” people in local pubs and schools after he reached the age of one.

She said: “He used to go out to the local pub and sit on people’s pints and drink their beers.

“And he also went to a local primary school, and as everyone was lining up, he was lining up around then.

Neighbours also came home and found him sitting on the bed – and he harassed an old lady up the street.”

Mike’s troublemaking came to a climax when he flew five miles away to Accrington and began hopping around the Greggs store.

And she said he was only rescued when an animal lover noticed him and managed to bring him back to her home.

She said: “One woman managed to get him to follow her home. She had some crumbs from one of the kid’s lunches, and he followed her.

“She’s gone home, and then heard about him on Radio Lancashire, and while she's there, she's called me and put the speaker phone on.

“He could say his name, so I knew it was Mike, and then I went to pick him up.”

Janine said a local farmer has now installed the £500 avery, which opens into the kitchen of her four-bedroom home.

But bizarrely, the chirpy chap has started to attack her partner, Steve, who originally rescued him.

She said: “He launches himself at him if he comes into the kitchen when he’s there.

“He tries to pull his ear off. I think he sees it as his territory, and I feel like the age he is, he’s learned to mark it. But I’m not a bird psychologist.”

Steve said: "He now comes at me, he's a right vicious swine. Although he is quite sweet."