NEW YORK (AP) – A Guyanese man has been cleared of trying to sneak 13 finches into the United States inside plastic hair curlers.

A Brooklyn magistrate tossed out the case Tuesday. A bird expert testified the finches Terrence McLean was accused of trying to smuggle aren’t protected under a 90-year-old Guyanese law.

Court papers say Kennedy Airport inspectors became suspicious in August 2006 after finding grass seed in McLean’s luggage.

Authorities say people had been going to a park in Queens and betting which bird would sing the most. Finches from Guyana are prized as singers.

McLean had pleaded guilty on Monday to failing to complete airport disclosure forms for the finches.

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