- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A New York man has pleaded guilty to capturing and killing federally protected hawks in Stamford, Connecticut.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly says Thomas Kapusta pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Hartford to charges including four counts of taking, capturing and killing red-tailed hawks or Cooper’s hawks.

Prosecutors say Kapusta and another person are pigeon-racing enthusiasts who killed the predatory hawks because they saw them as threats to their pigeons.

Kapusta is from Westbury, on Long Island. He captured the hawks in a trap designed to capture birds of prey and then shot and killed them in it.

Red-tailed hawks and Cooper’s hawks are protected under federal law.

Kapusta is scheduled to be sentenced May 13. The 63-year-old faces a maximum of 30 months in prison.

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