You can, provided you're willing to break a handful of federal laws and international treaties and locate a willing buyer, sell a dead hummingbird. A well-preserved specimen of certain varieties will fetch upward of $350 on the U.S. black market, according to federal prosecutors.
Who, you might wonder, would pay $350 for a dead hummingbird? We have no clue, and federal prosecutors don't say in a five-count wildlife-smuggling indictment handed down in Sherman on Wednesday. The feds do offer an answer as to who would sell a dead hummingbird: a 53-year-old Dallasite named Carlos Delgado Rodriguez.
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Rodriguez, according to the indictment, smuggled 61 dead hummingbirds into the U.S. from Mexico between February 2013 and January 2014. Most of these (55) were of the ruby-throated or black-chinned variety. Five were violet-crowned hummingbirds, and one was an Allen's hummingbird.
This, as we mentioned, is illegal. It was also illegal -- albeit under a different federal statute -- when he actually sold the smuggled hummingbirds.
If convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum 20 years in federal prison.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.