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“Saving a baby woodpecker from becoming a cat’s next meal briefly turned into a legal mess for an aspiring veterinarian and her mom, before U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials let them off the hook,” reports the cable news network MSNBC.

..”The citation is null and void,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Bill Butcher told msnbc.com on Tuesday. “We’ve rescinded it.”

The trouble started earlier this summer when sixth grader Skylar Capo, 11, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, spotted a baby woodpecker that had fallen from its net in her family’s backyard.

Shen she noticed the family’s cat was far too interested.

So, Skylar rescued the hatchling.  “I’ve just always loved animals,” she told local WUSA-TV. “I couldn’t stand to watch it be eaten.”

Skylar says she tried to find the bird’s nest so she could return it to its mother. However, no nest could be found in her backyard’s treetops.

“She was just going to take care of it for a day or two, make sure it was safe and uninjured, and then she was going to let it go,” her momther, Alison Capo, told the TV station.

Then, according to MSNBC:

The Capos put the bird in their car to drive to Skylar’s mom house. Along the way, they stopped at a Lowes Home Improvement Store, bringing the bird inside in a cage so it wouldn’t suffer in the summer heat while they shopped.

The woman worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and informed them that the woodpecker is protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act, according to WUSA. Taking or transporting a protected species is illegal.

The act also prohibits the right to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill” birds listed under protection, according to the Fish and Wildlife Services’ website.

The Capos brought the baby woodpecker home, opened the cage for it to fly away, and reported the incident to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Capo said wildlife officials told her, “That’s great, that’s exactly what we want to see,” leading her to believe there would be no more discussion about the matter.

But two weeks later, the same agent who had confronted the Capos knocked on their door, this time with a state trooper. They gave her a $535 fine for taking the bird, and said if convicted of violating the law, Capo could face up to a year in jail.

Now the feds have decided that was a mistake. Butcher has told the cable network that  the 11-year-old won’t have to pay any fine and is not at risk of going to jail.

Butcher said the agency has apologized to the child and will send her a formal letter ending the matter.

But Skylar has certainly learned her lesson.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with avoiding baby birds.

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