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.
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.