John Wayne Miller: Man accused of shooting plum-eating red-bellied woodpecker

Animal protected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act

 UPDATED 3:08 AM HST May 23, 2013
OCKLAWAHA, Fla. -

A north Florida man faces charges after fatally shooting a red-bellied woodpecker that was eating the plums from his trees, investigators said.

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

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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 said 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 reported 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.

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