Customs finds 70 finches in hair rollers

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Authorities say a passenger arriving from Guyana had the songbirds in a duffel bag. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
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Live finches are seen concealed within hair rollers following passenger inspection at John F. Kennedy Airport. (US Customs and Border Protection via Reuters)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Customs finds 70 finches in hair rollers

  • Customs officers have seized about 184 finches this year

NEW YORK: Customs officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport say they found 70 live finches hidden inside hair rollers.
Authorities say a passenger arriving from Guyana on Saturday had the songbirds in a duffel bag.
The New York Times reports officials believe the birds were brought to the US to participate in singing contests. Customs officials say people bet on how many times the finches chirp, and a winning male finch can sell for up to $10,000.
The birds were turned over to veterinarians to the US Agriculture Department, and the passenger was sent back to Guyana.
US Customs and Border Protection says bird smuggling could threaten agriculture through the possible spread of diseases such as bird flu.
Customs officers have seized about 184 finches this year.


Thousands of birds die at California’s Salton Sea

In this file photo taken on April 15, 2014 Budgerigars are pictured at Pairi Daiza animal park in Brugelette, Belgium. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Thousands of birds die at California’s Salton Sea

  • The 350-square-mile lake is located in the desert near the Mexican border

SALTON CITY, California: Authorities say thousands of migrating birds have died at California’s Salton Sea this month from avian cholera.
The California Department of Fish and Game says ducks, gulls and other birds were found dead at the south end of the state’s largest lake between Jan. 8 and last Thursday.
Testing showed signs of avian cholera, an infectious bacterial disease. It’s spread through direct contact or from contaminated food or water.
Wildlife officials say outbreaks occur annually as a result of birds flocking closely together during migration.
The 350-square-mile (560-square-kilometer) lake is located in the desert near the Mexican border. It’s a regular stop for migrating birds.