Sophisticated Florida songbird poachers get prison time

Cyprus-Crisis Songbirds_1534623388130

In this Nov. 3, 2012 photo, a man tries to free a bird caught on a sticky lime stick that poachers in Cyprus use to trap songbirds in his orchard in the Larnaca district of Cyprus. The small birds, called ambelopoulia in Greek, are considered a delicacy in Cyprus and poachers supply a lucrative market. Amid an […]

The men behind a sophisticated Florida bird-smuggling operation that poached more than 400 songbirds are going to prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said this week that the men installed bird callers and painted trees and other perches with a sticky adhesive across the Everglades during a four-year period. The men allegedly snared the birds with nets, catching everything from grasshopper sparrows, buntings and hawks to screech owls, cardinals and house finches.

Prosecutors say the men often maimed the birds or left them tangled in nets. They say one smuggler nailed a loggerhead shrike to a cross.

The Miami Herald reports three of the men were sentenced last month and will spend between six and 15 months in prison.

Three others who pleaded guilty in April are awaiting sentencing.

About 130 of the rescued birds were released in April.

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