"The state game warden threatened me with a misdemeanor citation and said Edgar would have to be euthanized," said Debby Porter, 59, who lives in Palmdale, 50 miles north of Los Angeles. "A misdemeanor doesn't mean that much to me, but I don't want Edgar euthanized."
Porter bought Edgar for $2,000 in 2006 in Alabama and raised him by hand at her Palmdale home where she's built two elaborate aviaries for blind or injured crows and ravens.
Keeping Edgar and the 20 other birds violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, wildlife officials told the Los Angeles Times.
On Aug. 29, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents took 20 birds, but left Edgar behind, saying he was an African pied-crow and brown-necked raven hybrid, not a North American migratory bird.
It wasn't long before the California Department of Fish and Game told her she had to turn over Edgar because she didn't have a permit to keep him.
State and federal wildlife officials refused to talk specifics about Porter's case. But people need permits to care for sick or injured birds or to use them for education, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Roger Turnell Jr.
Porter said she was working with a rehabilitation specialist and applying for a license for herself when the raid occurred. She will continue efforts to get a license and return Edgar to his home, she added.
Birds that are injured or born in captivity depend on humans for food, said Porter, a former Hollywood stuntwoman.
She and Edgar bonded quickly, she said. She taught him to come when he was called, squawk "hello" and "what" and sing a song with her.
Before Porter moved to Palmdale in 2008, she said she talked to neighbors about her birds, then had the house modified to accommodate an aviary. She put another aviary in the backyard.
Porter said she has hired a lawyer and started an online petition to fight for Edgar and other birds.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com