A PET budgie escaped and remains missing after council contractors accidentally let it out of a window.
Lilo belongs to four-year-old Oliver and his big sister Emily – but hasn’t been seen since it fled the family home.
Now the distraught children and their parents Katie and Robert Pike have launched a campaign across Southampton to track down the little white bird that has been missing for more than a week.
Posters have been printed and placed across the area in a bid to get information about where she might be, while the family have phoned aviaries, vets and the RSPCA for any sightings.
Lilo escaped when a worker from Firstline Digital, employed by Southampton City Council to upgrade TVs from analogue to digital before the switchover in council properties across the city, visited the family home in Cuckmere Lane, Millbrook, to carry out the work.
Katie said he was in the house for a matter of minutes before he opened the window and Lilo, who has been the family pet for three-and-a-half years, flew out.
She said: “We are all absolutely gutted. My husband is a Royal Marine and goes away a lot, and the bird keeps us company. When we watch films, she would sit on my chest with me and would always play with the children. She was one of the family, very special. It is devastating.”
Katie added: “We didn’t get a chance to tell him. He hadn’t even drilled a hole in the wall. He just took the net curtain off the hook, dropped it and opened the window straight away.
“It all happened so fast, literally within seconds.
“I turned back around because I heard screaming. My husband put his head in his hands and my daughter was in tears. Both kids watched as the bird flew away. It was just awful.”
Katie, 29, who is a community health care support worker, said she has been offered money by the company but feels let down.
She said: “All they have said to me is how much do I want. I’m not putting a price on my budgie’s head, I want them to help find her.”
Rob Matthews, a supervisor at Firstline Digital, said: “My guy turned up to carry out the work in partnership with Southampton City Council. He was going about his business and wasn’t informed there was a budgie loose in the room.
“The very sorry situation occurred and we have tried to mitigate the situation with the client. If there is anything we can do to help get the budgie back, we would of course be more than happy.”