29 finches found in hair curlers in man’s luggage at JFK airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered 29 finches concealed in curlers in a man’s luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Officers discovered the birds during a baggage check Sunday at New York airport after a 26-year-old man arrived on a flight from Georgetown, Guyana, according to a CBP statement.

The man, who was traveling to New Jersey, was allowed to withdraw his application to enter the country and returned to Guyana on Monday. CBP issued a $300 fine and seized the birds alongside US Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors.

Authorities quarantined the birds and turned them over to Agriculture Department Veterinary Services, according to CBP.

The birds were reportedly found placed in the curlers with netting stuck over the ends of the curlers.

The agency noted that individuals can legally bring birds into the United States, but improperly imported birds pose a risk of potential bird flu outbreaks that could threaten the poultry industry.

Sunday’s incident is not the first time officials have seized the same type of birds at New York airport.

In 2019, police arrested a Connecticut man they believe attempted to smuggle 34 finches through the airport, also stored in curlers. JFK customs officers also found 70 live finches smuggled in the same way in December 2018.