THIEVES broke into a public aviary to steal 60 birds - then returned the next day to try again.
Police are today trying to find the blue, green, yellow, grey and white budgies and cockatiels which were stolen from the aviary in Hexthorpe Park, Doncaster.
Raiders who struck in the early hours of Monday returned again the next day but were unable to force their way into the locked building for a second time, although they caused damage to the site.
Around half the birds are left. The thieves also took nesting boxes.
Director of adults and communities at Doncaster Council Joan Beck said: “Hexthorpe Park has always had an aviary and it has been recently refurbished.
“The theft of these much-loved creatures is distressing for members of the local community, particularly children who enjoy visiting them.”
The aviary is the only one of its sort in Doncaster and residents urged the council to keep it when the park was refurbished.
It is used by schools and families from all across the borough, and attracts visitors from outside Doncaster.
Gareth Barwell, the authority’s head of service for Street Scene which runs the borough’s parks, said the aviary is locked at night, but the parks are kept open so people can still use them after work.
He believes the thieves will try to make money by selling the birds, and urged anyone who knew someone who has recently obtained a large number of birds to contact police.
He said: “The staff who look after them are quite upset. They are attached to them. Obviously we are also concerned for the birds’ welfare.”
Call police on 101.