Eleven-year-old Skylar Capo rescued a young woodpecker about to be eaten by a domestic cat. On the way home, she and her mother stopped at Lowe’s. As it was hot outside, Skylar brought the caged bird inside, where an officer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accosted them.
The problem was that the woodpecker is a protected species under the Federal Migratory Bird Act. Therefore, it is illegal to take or transport a baby woodpecker.
When they got home, they released the bird, which was old enough to fly away. They informed the officer, who agreed that was the right thing to do.
But roughly two weeks later, that same woman from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed up at Capo’s front door. This time, Capo says the woman was accompanied by a state trooper. Capo refused to accept a citation, but was later mailed a notice to appear in U.S. District Court for unlawfully taking a migratory bird. She’s also been slapped with a $535 fine.
The offense also carries a one-year prison sentence.
When CBS affiliate WUSA9 ran this story, their video mentioned that repeated attempts to contact Fish and Wildlife went unanswered. However, WUSA9 posted an addendum today, where Fish and Wildlife claimed the citation was “processed unintentionally despite our office’s request to cancel the ticket,” and that they sent the Capo’s a written apology.