Turkey Probes Dead Bird It Suspects Is Israeli Spy

A band on its leg and the size of its nostrils tipped off the authorities

By Sam Schulz
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 9:29 AM PDT
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Turkish authorities reportedly investigated a European bee-eater it suspected might house Israeli spy equipment.

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It's a bird! It's an Israeli spy! It's a — well, it's probably a bird.

Turkish authorities are investigating a dead bird they think could might be an Israeli spy, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

According to the report, a farmer found the dead European bee-eater and noticed that its leg was banded with a ring that said "Israel." (Bird-banding lets ornithologists track migration routes.)

He handed the bird's body over to the government, and security officials investigating it found what they reportedly considered cause for alarm: Its suspiciously sized nostrils.

The nostrils were large enough for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to have implanted a surveillance device inside, according to the report.

But a bird expert told Yedioth Ahronoth that the bee-eaters often pass through Israel and Turkey during their migration from Europe, and a conservation society confirmed that the bird under investigation was banded four years ago.

Birds banded in Israel have triggered suspicion in the region before. According to Yedioth Ahronoth, last year Saudi Arabia detained an Israel-banded vulture carrying a GPS transmitter with Tel Aviv University's name on it, suspecting it of an espionage plot.

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