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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Artist’s Use of Dead Bird Ruffles Some Feathers

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A Wayne, Pa., artist has pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Act after she was found drunk with a dead yellow-bellied sapsucker at the Valley Forge National Historic Park.

An officer pulled over Josephine L. Winsor's Ford Focus near the park, late one December 2010 night, and found the dead woodpecker inside the vehicle, according to a statement of probable cause.

Winsor's attorney, Stephen Baer with Baer, Romain & Abramson in Valley Forge, Pa, told Courthouse News that "in the past she has used birds in her artwork as models."

"Her intent was to use it in her artwork," he said.

"There was no criminal intent here," he said. "She had no idea that what she was doing was wrong."

"She had no idea [about] the name of the bird. She had no idea it was a migratory bird," he said.

Winsor received the carcass from a conservancy outside the park that she has worked with in the past, and was carrying the carcass in the well of her car for most of the day, he explained.

A park ranger originally cited the artist for being in the park after dark and for driving under the influence, and the Migratory Bird Act violation was tacked on later, Baer said.

A federal magistrate on Thursday fined Winsor $350 and ordered the National Park Service, which operates the park, to "place the bird into service either for educational and/or display purposes," with first dibs on the stuffed fowl going to the park, according to the order.

Hart also ordered Winsor to pay up to $500 in taxidermy costs.

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