Fla. man convicted of illegal bird possession

MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida man has been convicted and fined for illegally possessing 34 birds protected under migratory bird laws.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams last week ordered 71-year-old Jose Souto of Coral Gables to pay a $15,000 fine and put him on one month's probation after his guilty plea. Souto must also make a $7,500 donation to the Tropical Audubon Society for research and education.

Court documents show that the birds Souto possessed included northern cardinals, grosbeaks and buntings. All are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be taken or possessed without valid permits.

They are among the migratory species whose numbers have dropped recently in the eastern U.S.

Souto's plea agreement requires that he abandon the birds and a bird trap he had.


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