Two Palestinian minors were caught by Israeli authorities on Saturday trying to smuggle songbirds to the West Bank in their pants while crossing into the country from Jordan.
The two minors — a boy from Hebron and a girl from Ramallah — aroused the suspicion of security at the Allenby Border Crossing after guards heard tweeting sounds coming from their pants. A search of the two minors by the guards revealed dozens of goldfinches concealed inside their pants, according to reports.
Goldfinches are a small bird native to the region prized for their singing. They are often bred with canaries in order to produce a more pleasant singing voice.
A wild goldfinch can fetch up to NIS 150 ($39), while a goldfinch-canary hybrid can go for anywhere from NIS 500 shekels ($131) to NIS 1,500 ($395), according to the Ynet news site.
The guards who found the birds were shocked by the large number of birds the pair had tried to smuggle, with reports quoting a guard as saying that each of them had 19 birds concealed in their pants.
The birds were later released by the guards, while the minors were handed over to representatives of the Agriculture Ministry for questioning.
In December, guards at the Allenby Border Crossing caught four Palestinians trying to smuggle over 100 goldfinches to the West Bank..
The birds were treated by officials at the Agriculture Ministry before being returned to Jordan.