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Construction worker finds, rears rare birds

TAIPEI--Three Formosan blue magpie chicks discovered on a mountain path were reared at home by a construction worker for five days until they were identified as being a rare Taiwanese species, police in Keelung City said yesterday.

A construction worker, surnamed Yu, found the three chicks in a bird's nest that had fallen on a path near a construction site on a mountain in New Taipei City where he worked, police said.

He reared the birds at home for five days until his friend recognized the birds' characteristic long-tails and suggested they might be Formosan blue magpies, also known as “long-tailed maidens of the mountains,” which is Taiwan's national bird, according to police.

Yu took the birds to the police and they were subsequently checked by experts, who identified the birds as being Formosan blue magpies, a rare and protected species.

The chicks will be reared by experts at Keelung's Agriculture and Forestry Department until they are able to fend for themselves in the wild.

Police said Yu had not violated the country's Wildlife Conservation Act as he had not hunted, sold or publicly displayed the birds.

Hunting, selling, or buying protected animals in Taiwan can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years and/or a maximum fine of NT$1.5 million (US$50,206), according to the act.

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