LOS ANGELES – Passengers on a 10-hour flight from Taiwan to California discovered a surprising stowaway when a songbird hopped down their plane's aisle in what officials suspect is a failed animal smuggling attempt.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection specialists said in a statement Friday that they seized the bird upon the flight's arrival at Los Angeles International Airport on May 27.
A flight attendant had captured the bird and handed it over to customs agents who put the bird in a cage and gave it seeds and water.
After screening and X-raying all passengers, crew and carry-on bags, no other birds, droppings or feathers were found.
Customs officials say smuggled animals can carry diseases, such as avian flu, which is potentially fatal.