Three baby birds that were discovered on a mountain path and taken care of by a construction worker at home for five days were taken to a police station in Kee-lung on Monday after friends of the worker said they were probably Formosan blue magpies.
The birds were later confirmed as the rare and protected species.
The construction worker, surnamed Yu (游), found the birds in a nest that had fallen onto a path near a construction site in New Taipei City (新北市), police said.
He looked after the birds at home for five days until a friend recognized the birds’ characteristic long tails and said they might be Formosan blue magpies, also known as “long-tailed maidens of the mountains” and Taiwan’s national bird, police said.
Yu took the birds to the police and they were examined by experts, who confirmed them to be Formosan blue magpies.
The birds will now be reared by Keelung’s -Agriculture and Forestry Department until they can fend for themselves in the wild.
Yu did not violate the country’s Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) because he did not hunt, sell or publicly display the birds, police said.
Hunting, selling or buying protected animals can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years and/or a maximum fine of NT$1.5 million (US$50,206), according to the act.