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'Malicious' prankster put cans on bird necks

November 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A wildlife team in San Francisco is trying to rescue some abused seagulls, apparently the victim of a cruel prankster. Someone has been purposely putting beer can collars around the birds' necks.Experts say there's no chance it was an accident and called it "deliberate and malicious."

At least five birds have been spotted with the collars near Lake Merced, and rescuers are trying to get to them as quickly as they can.

Rescuers said the birds are difficult to capture, though, because of the traumatic abuse they have already suffered. They generally flee when humans approach.

The collars are damaging to the birds' feathers. Rescuers said if they can't catch them and remove the collars quickly, the birds won't be able to make it through the winter.