Songbird crossed Pacific on international flight and was captured at LAX | Mail Online
Bird on a plane! The stowaway songbird that crossed the Pacific on an international flight... only to be seized by customs agents
Passengers on a 10-hour flight from Taiwan to California were in for a surprise when they found there was a stowaway passenger in the plane – a rare songbird.
They discovered the surprising fare-dodger when the tawny songbird hopped down the aisle of the plane.
Officials suspect the bird’s transcontinental flight was most likely a failed animal smuggling attempt.
A flight attendant had captured the bird and handed it over to customs agents who put the bird in a cage and gave it seeds and water.
After screening and X-raying all passengers, crew and carry-on bags, no other birds, droppings or feathers were found.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection specialists said in a statement Friday that they seized the bird upon the flight's arrival at Los Angeles International Airport on May 27.
The bird was offered veterinary services, and released to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While there were no arrests made, LAX officials said that the species is identical to others found at the busy Los Angeles airport.
In 2009, a man from Garden Grove, California was caught trying to smuggle rare songbirds into the country by securing them to his legs.
His cover was blown after officials found feathers and bird droppings on his trousers, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
He was sentenced to four months in federal prison.
Customs officials say smuggled animals can carry diseases, such as avian flu, which is potentially fatal.