Photos of smuggler caught with hummingbirds in underwear

Look at these cute photos of hummingbirds in a smuggler's underwear.


  1. THEY AREN’T CUTE. They’re depressing.

    (some of) those hummingbirds are (probably) dead, yo. :(

    well, ok, so they’re cute too. but my first response is “:(” not “d’aww”

      1. why would the cops pose with the rack of hummingbirds if they were still alive?  wouldn’t they be trying to free them?

        EDIT: after doing five minutes of research i see that many do get smuggled like this while live, but that many of them are smothered as it is difficult for them to breathe when wrapped like this. so i will revise my comment to “some of those birds are (probably) dead, yo!”

        1. Free them where? Do you know what kind of chaos would ensue if a couple dozen hummingbirds were released indoors? I imagine they’re alive, or they wouldn’t be so carefully bound and kept warm with body heat. Sensible cops would wait until the animal experts showed up to relieve them of their weird burden.

  2. If you come to point in your life where you find yourself with a crotch full of kidnapped hummingbirds, I think you need to seriously examine your purpose of remaining on this planet. You are, at that point, merely an oxygen thief.

  3. I’m not so sure they’re dead, looking closely, but I could be wrong. Why would this scumbag be doing this? To sell them? I’d no idea there was a pet market for them. Besides I believe they are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. 

    1. “Besides I believe they are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act.”
      which is why he’s resorted to shoving them down his crotch!

      1. Also, let’s not forget – let’s *not* forget, Dude – that keeping
        wildlife, small birds, for uh, domestic, you know, within your pants – that aint legal either.

  4. Is that a hummingbird in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    Despite the gallows humor, that is freaking depressing as hell.

      1. oh (little) brother….

        Ha! Perhaps the old rock in the shoe trick isn’t effective any more, and he had to fall back on the old crotch full of hummingbirds trick.

  5. I really wish airports had a convenient execution apparatus in place for people who smuggle animals.  I don’t really care about drugs but this really pisses me off.

  6. Quick poll: If the guy sitting next to you on an international flight had a cache of hummingbirds down his crotch, do you think you would be able to guess what his problem was? 

    (This poll question assumes that it would be fairly obvious that he has *some* kind of problem.)

    1. heck no!  Honestly, even if the guy told me, “Actually, I fidget a lot because I have small birds in my pants”, my assumption would be that he’s out of his tree.

      birds in the pants is so far out of my experience, I would never have guessed it.

  7. We seem to be neglecting the most important issue here. WHY SMUGGLE A HUMMINGBIRD AT ALL? What are they to be used for?

    1. Exactly! 
      We have hummingbirds here in NY.  See them every day at the feeder on our porch.  What’s the need to smuggle them?

      1. Guess others may not be so fortunate.  Even in the Southern California trailer park of my youth, we’d see them all over the honeysuckle.  And I just ducked a couple of them outside my Pasadena back porch a couple weeks ago.

        They’re kinda cute and all, but they seem like an odd thing to covet.  Black markets are often weird things.

        But you know what would have really made this an epic picture? Had it been large enough to show the smuggler’s face as well. Never mind the identification purposes; as long as we’re gonna see some dipshit get busted for smuggling fowl, I wanna see the expression on his face when Johnny Law snaps the incriminating picture, complete with outstretched bird-filled drawers, and announces it’s going straight up onto the higher-profile Internet.

        Smile, birdballs!

    1. i agree, that had better not be a tongue, but i would say it is more likely a stray thread as you will see white thread strands protruding from the captivity holes and elsewhere on this guy’ s home made hummingbird holder.

  8. New shit has come to light, Man.

    Shit Has Come to Light”: Information Seeking Behavior in The Big
    Lebowski – DILL – 2011 – The Journal of Popular Culture – Wiley Online

  9. I just can’t imagine why somebody would want to smuggle hummingbirds. It’s kind of blowing my mind a little bit. To have hummingbirds stashed in a special hummingbird caddy in your pants; to be CAUGHT while concealing them from the authorities… it’s all too absurd. I feel confused and bewildered. I feel… faint.

  10. The birds look pretty alive and perky to me.  If you follow the chain of links, you can see them individually wrapped.

    1. …you can see them individually wrapped.

      I prefer my hummingbirds individually wrapped! Es muy delicioso!

      Seriously, when is the Steven Soderberg going to make a film of this? A film simply called “Smuggle.”

  11. He should serve jail in time inside someone else’s used underwear.  They should just send it to his cell to be taped over his head before it goes to the laundry.  “90 days solitary confinement in dirty underwear.”

  12. In my entire life, I’ve seen one – maybe two hummingbirds in the wild.  I can’t imagine how you’d even go about catching them – let alone why.  And those beaks look awfully pointy.   All things considered, this doesn’t appear to be a viable business venture.

  13. Via a quick dip into the google,

    Regarding the illegal trade in protected and endangered bird species, I always thought the Michael Douglas character in Romancing the Stone was even more of a tool than most took him for, once you work through what he was doing for a living before the bus freed his stock. I didn’t get the feeling most caught that.

  14. I seem to recall hummingbirds have really high metabolisms and they need to eat like every ten minutes or they die. I guess this guy planned on spending the entire flight in the bathroom with an eyedropper of sugar water.

  15. Poor birds! Does anyone know what happened to them? Did they get to go somewhere nice? I’m really hoping so, they deserve a nice life after having to take an international flight in someone’s underwear. 

  16. The ultimate sad cute… a bit more sad than cute.

    Dear Crazy People,

    Please stop stuffing animals down your pants.


    “Hummingbirds are capable of slowing down their metabolism at night, or
    any other time food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor.
    During torpor, the heart rate and rate of breathing are both slowed
    dramatically (the heart rate to roughly 50 to 180 beats per minute),
    reducing the need for food.”

    animal cruelty aside… that is a lot of really sharp beaks right next to that dudes junk.

  18. What kind of guy goes up to another guy, pulls his pants open and takes a picture? He was just going about his business smuggling Hummingbirds when this freak turns up.

  19. Hummingbirds are simply beautiful, and I spent many an hour watching them when I lived in Africa. Smuggling is terrible yes, etc, etc, I agree with all the readers. However, could this issue not be solved, or at least addressed, in a constructive manner? Numerous countries have had great success with handling drug issues by decriminalising, educating, taxing, managing. Could this not be done here? Suppose I want a hummingbird: I must pass appropriate courses, I must obtain authorisation, based on an inspection of my home or whatever environment, I must pay for a license, I must be listed on a database of owners, I must cooperate with local zoos or similar institutions when necessary, and so forth. Now I have no pets, as I believe that no animal should be kept in captivity, even the cats that boingboingers wet themselves over, but seriously, could this not be a way to manage the problem to some degree?

    1. WE ALL want to know.  Why would you want a hummingbird?!  Because the thought of having one as a pet (which would require the bird lives in captivity) makes no sense, medicinal seems the only crazy logic answer?!

    2. In America, and many other countries, to keep and/or rehabilitate wildlife you do need a license, which generally involves permits, courses, and state/local databases of people with that license.  It is illegal to keep birds and other wildlife without these permits. If these people had the right permits, those birds would be shipped in an appropriate cage with appropriate permits.

      This is true to some extent even with domesticated animals, depending on where you go–to adopt my cat, I signed a contract with the adoption agency promising to give it back to them if for some reason I could not take care of it.

      You are looking at the mechanism–smuggling–people use when they don’t want to deal with the permits–there’s always going to be a market for people who want something they could in theory get legally but won’t or can’t get legally (if it’s just a normal hummingbird, a captive wildlife permit; if it’s some kind of endangered species, basically being some kind of zookeeper or researcher would be the only legal way to get access to these animals).

      It’s not that they don’t know about the permits–they know, and this is how they get around it. The wildlife enforcement people are cops–that’s why they arrest you after they find, say, hummingbirds smuggled in your underwear. (The reason they are in the underwear, I guess, is because it is warm and dark. The birds will be warm and also not move as much or have as many energy needs as they are probably asleep.)

  20. I think one of the punishments for anyone found guilty of wildlife smuggling is a permanent revokation of their passports.

    This would have to be part of an international agreement such as CITES. No, it wouldn’t solve the problem, but it would be an important part of a solution.

  21. There are *lots* of types of hummingbirds. All of them live in the Americas. The most spectacular of which do not live in New York or wherever it is in the US that you are. They live in the jungles of central and south America.

    People don’t want them as pets like they want dogs as pets, they want them like they want leopards as pets. Because they’re rare and exotic and illegal to have. Also, seeing as they don’t live in Europe, Asia or Africa, they’re even more of a rarity there.

    The article doesn’t say where this person was going from ,but he wasn’t catching Anna’s hummingbirds in Southern California and taking them to Denver. He was catching rare and exotic species in French Guiana and transporting them probably to Asia or Europe to sell to rich and eccentric collectors for high prices.

    1. they want them like they want leopards as pets.

      Well, sure.  It kinda figures that the guy wouldn’t be smuggling the equivalent of downtown pigeons.

      But you’re surely on the nose when you say the collectors must be “eccentric.”  Pet leopards are kinda… well, that’s a pretty obvious form of Evil Kingpin showoffery.  Brightly-colored hummingbirds?  Somehow that seems to lack the zazz that I’d expect in an illegal pet.

      1. There is a huge international market in illegal reptile smuggling (which is one of the reasons why I buy reptiles bred from local reptile breeders rather than pet stores, where it is not clear where the original lizards came from (imported/wild-caught vs. captive bred). Why is that, since most people do not think of reptiles as cute pets?

        I would bet that people with the money and/or interest to smuggle animals illegally and keep them as pets don’t often think about these animals as “animals,” whether they are colorful birds, monkeys, tigers, or some kind of rare turtle. It’s like wanting to have the newest apple OS right when it comes out, except for live snow leopards rather than the software version.

        They are, rather, possessions to show the money, secret knowledge (‘I got away with smuggling this!’) and status of the owner, rather than animals that have needs that should be met and respected….in that sense it almost doesn’t matter much which animal(s) get smuggled for most of these people. I am sure there are people who prefer rare cats rather than, say, wolves, but like for any domestic dog or cat owner, that’s probably mostly an aesthetic choice on the part of the animal owner. I mean, if they just wanted a pet bird, they could get one, or if they wanted to work with wildlife, they could be a rehabilitator.

        There is a really good, sad, in-depth article about wildlife smuggling from the national parks of Malaysia here, which talks more about the kinds of animals that get smuggled internationally.

    2. I totally agree with tylerkaraszewski. Humming birds may seem pedestrian and unimportant to some from the US, but we don’t have them in New Zealand. We don’t have squirrels either and I have spent time enjoying both hummingbirds and squirrels on visits to the US. I can totally see why someone might want to own a few beautiful humming birds, or a squirrel for that for that matter.

  22. It just occurred to me that maybe they weren’t destined for ownership as exotic pets… it could be an asian pharmacy thing.  I would not be surprised to see some claim of magical energy elixirs or other noxious scam.

  23. ah wildlife smuggling… there’s big money in it! and dollars to donuts this guy got out with a slap on the wrist… punishment for this kind of stuff is basically non-existent in most parts. this is a good piece on one of the best wildlife smugglers …

  24. There are three different species of hummingbirds that come every day to feed on the salvias I have planted outside the windows of my house here in Los Angeles. If you stand very still for a while near the sage, they might fly so close that you can feel the edges of their wings brushing your skin. Like living jewels in green, blue and copper, they dart faster than the eye can see and stop on a dime, hovering in mid-air. They’re little miracles.

    1. They’re year-rounders here in Palm Springs (unlike the Canadians). They’re one of the most common birds here. Also sufficiently immune to humankind that you can get to know them quite well.

  25. Maybe Mark, with his excellent knowledge of the old Time-Life Science series would remember the picture in one of those books of a bunch of hummingbirds stashed– in a similar manner– inside a smuggler’s suitcase? (It seems like a better fate than being stashed next to smuggler’s junk.)I couldn’t figure out 40 years ago why you’d want to smuggle a hummingbird, but there must still be a (sad and depressing) reason for it. 

  26. Humming birds can be very aggressive. I’ve had several swoop me for getting too close to their mate/nest when I was hanging out in my backyard. And believe me, a humming bird strafing your head at 40 mph is pretty scary. 

  27. More on hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) from the Encyclopedia of Life:

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