N. Fla. man arrested in death of plum-eating bird

Red bellied woodpecker
Posted at 8:48 AM, May 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 05:02:29-04

OCKLAWAHA, Fla. (AP) — A north Florida man faces charges after fatally shooting a red-bellied woodpecker that was eating the plums from his trees.

State wildlife officials say 51-year-old John Wayne Miller shot the bird with a pellet rifle. He was arrested Tuesday and released after posting a $250 bond.

The woodpecker is protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act but officials decided not to pursue federal charges.

Florida Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Joy Hill says the agency opened an investigation after receiving an anonymous tip about the shooting. A state official notified Miller about the charge and he turned himself in.

The Ocala Star-Banner  reports Miller apologized for killing the bird. He said his mother gave him the trees and he had spent a lot of money taking care of them.