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Poisoning Migratory Birds Costs Colorado Man $60,000

DENVER, Colorado, January 4, 2008 (ENS) – The deliberate misapplication of agricultural insecticide led to over 2,200 migratory bird deaths on a single piece of property in Colorado last year. Today, the man responsible for illegally applying the insecticide to his property pleaded guilty and was sentenced in federal court in Denver.

Lyle Ravenkamp of Hugo, Colorado pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, in connection with his misapplication of the chemical insecticide carbofuran to a 95 acre sunflower field in Lincoln County, Colorado in June 2006.

Ravenkamp admitted that he applied the insecticide on the surface of the field, instead of below the surface, as he knew it was intended to be used.

As a result, more than 2,200 migratory birds, including mourning doves, horned larks, western meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds and common grackles, died after ingesting the carbofuran, which is known to be highly toxic to birds.

Under a plea agreement, Magistrate Judge Michael Hagarty sentenced Ravenkamp to pay the maximum fine of $15,000, make additional restitution of $15,000 to the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Fund, and relinquish his pesticide applicator’s license.

Judge Hagarty placed Ravenkamp on probation for three years, during which he must perform community service in the form of specific wildlife habitat improvements to two parcels of property Ravenkamp owns in Lincoln County.

These improvements will be coordinated with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and are valued at approximately $30,000.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal law that imposes a strict liability misdemeanor sanction for the unauthorized “taking” of several hundred species of birds without prior license or permit.

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