The carers of a mischievous magpie have custom-built an aviary in their garden after the bird flew for miles to visit a Greggs bakery.

'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.

Sabden man Steve Rostron came across the ‘distressed’ magpie when he was just two weeks old while out walking with his whippet, 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 Mike’s partner Janine – who has formed a special bond with the bird – has told of how they’ve had to have a custom-made aviary built in their home to keep him safe after he disappeared off to Accrington, where he was found inside a Greggs Bakery.

Speaking about before the incident, Janine said: “He was 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."

She added: “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.”

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

And Janine said he was only rescued when a local 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. That was quite a few miles away, probably four or five. I’m not sure why he went there.”

Following the incident, the couple took advice from several bird experts who all agreed Mike could not be released into the wild. 

Janine said a local farmer has now installed the £500 crowd-funded aviary, 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 originally found him, when was stray, and when he’s outside the cage, he talks to Steve.

She added: “The aviary is about two and a half metres squared. He can fly around in there, so it’s not a cage.”

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