What's in that fanny pack?
BUFFALO, N.Y. — If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, what will four birds in a pocket and three in a fanny pack bring?
If border agents notice, a $1,000 fine and maybe worse.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said Monday they seized seven birds from two men as they re-entered the United States from Canada via Buffalo's Peace Bridge.
The duo caught the attention of officers when they said they had gone to Canada on Friday not for the usual gambling or theater excursions but to buy 25 pounds of millet bird seed.
The agents searched the men and found seven undeclared live finches, each worth $50 to $200 in the U.S. market. Four of the birds were in the liner of a coat pocket and the other three were in toilet paper rolls inside a fanny pack, agents said.
The Buffalo-area men each were fined $1,000, customs spokesman Kevin Corsaro said. Federal wildlife and agricultural officials are looking into possible criminal charges.
"The smuggling of such birds increases the chances that a communicable bird disease, such as Exotic Newcastle or avian influenza, could enter the United States," Corsaro said.