SALES of pet birds have soared during lockdown, according to one retailer.

Jollyes – which has a store at Keighley Retail Park, in Hard Ings Road – says canaries have topped the pecking order, with sales up by almost two-thirds.

Budgie sales have risen by over 50 per cent, finches and parakeets by around 40 per cent and parrots by a third.

Chris Burns, for Jollyes, said: “Interest in keeping birds as pets has risen dramatically during lockdown and it’s become a nationwide phenomenon.

“There’s evidence that keeping a pet bird is good for the owner’s health and wellbeing, providing companionship, reducing stress and keeping the brain active – and our customers seem to vouch for that.

“Hand-reared birds in particular enjoy human company and thrive on attention, which makes them popular pets.

“Depending on the species and breed they can entertain their owners with chirruping, chatter and song, while some become superb mimics.”

He says expert advice is provided by staff on what type of bird might suit the customer, the kind of cage or aviary they need and how to feed and look after them.