19 pet birds stolen from man's backyard
FOR the past 20 years, Ken Hall has woken up to the sound of his 22 pet finches welcoming a new day.
Now, there's silence.
Last week, 19 of his beloved birds were stolen from his Point Vernon home.
"I had a horrible night (Sunday) night and the night before," he said.
"It's really hurt me."
Ken and his wife of 53 years, Jan, attended the Fraser Coast Show last Thursday.
When they returned, Ken went to tend to his Gouldian finches only to discover they were gone.
Just two Gouldian and one white finch were left behind.
With prices ranging between $20 and $45 a bird, Ken said the stolen finches were worth at least $800.
Jan said her husband had been classified as disabled since he turned eight and was unable to read or write.
She said as he was unable to sit down and read a book, caring for his birds was a way for Ken to occupy his time.
It's not just the owners who have been affected by the theft of their pets.
Since the theft, the remaining finches have refused to fly and spend most of their time on the floor of their cage.
"They tend to do that," Ken said.
"For the first few days they were flying back and forth in the cage looking for their mates but they don't any more.
"They don't always survive when this type of thing happens."
The couple reported the matter to police after there were no signs of escape or the presence of a snake.
Ken suspected those responsible for the crime were well educated in birds as only the young, "show worthy" birds were taken and the oldest left behind.
"They had beautiful colours and mine were thinner and taller", he said.
"The ones that go into the shows are a bit shorter."
He said having the old nursing home beside their house meant many people walked up and down the fence-line dividing the two properties.
"We didn't tell one person we were going to the show that day and no one knows we had these nice birds," he said.
"Now we wonder if the person will come back and steal something else.
Despite believing he has show quality birds, Ken keeps the birds to himself and only sells about 10 to local stores every three to four years.
Due to their individual prices being quite high, the couple have decided they will not buy more finches. However, they still have their pet dog, Tiny.
"I knew (all the finches) and they talk to you which seems stupid but they do," he said.
"They chirp to you in certain ways when they want something."
Anyone with information can phone 131 444.