Customs officials discovered 35 live finches hiding on a man at New York City’s JFK Airport. The suspect, arrived from Guyana, carried on him small cylindrical cases closed by a wire mesh to let the birds breathe.
He had a dozen of them attached to the lining of his jacket, the rest wrapped around his ankles, said the federal prosecutor in Brooklyn on Tuesday. When questioned, the man explained that a contact offered him $ 3,000 to transport the finches. He was presented to a federal judge and released on $ 25,000 bail.
Authorities believe the man may have intended to sell the birds. They say finches can sell for between $3,000 and $5,000 per bird on the black market. https://t.co/QmLEwWbXvl
— WTRF 7News (@WTRF7News) April 23, 2021
Birds prized for their song
Finches are prized for their song, which is both joyful and melodious. Singing competitions are held regularly in parks in the Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods, and are the subject of betting. According to a Federal Fish and Wildlife Service agent, a finch that wins multiple competitions can fetch more than $ 10,000.
There are finches in the United States but some specimens born in Guyana are in great demand, their song being considered one of the best. According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), some 20,762 seizures of wild animals were made in 2017 worldwide, the latest global figure available.