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U.S. Customs Seized 70 Live Finches Being Smuggled in Hair Rollers

Someone attempted to smuggle live finches into the United States—inside hair rollers. Customs officers at John F. Kennedy airport in New York discovered the finches inside a duffle bag.

The bag belonged to a passenger arriving in the country from Guyana. Officials say that the man was bringing the birds into the country in order to have them participate in a singing competition.

The competition in question typically involves people betting on how many times a finch chirps. A winning male finch from the contest traditionally sells for around $10,000, reports The New York Times.

The birds were confiscated and turned over to veterinarians at the U.S. Agriculture Department and the man was sent back to Guyana.

The birds are not allowed into the country in order to protect U.S. Agriculture—allowing in outside animals and plants may potentially bring new diseases to the country. In the case of the finches, that concern includes bird flu.

While their mode of transportation was a bit unusual, the hidden finches confiscated this week aren’t the first to be stopped this year. According to the AP, customs officers has seized around 184 finches this year.