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Someone in Egypt thought a swan was a spy, but it turns out they were wrong. Shockingly, the beautiful bird wasn't an undercover agent looking to gather information from the skies. 

The Associated Press reports Egyptian authorities in Qena, more than 250 miles outside of Cairo, recently detained a swan after a citizen accused it of being a spy because the bird had an electronic device on its leg. The electronic device "likely could be a wildlife tracker," the AP notes. 

Pigeons were used to carry messages in World War II, sure, but in a world with computers and drones and massive surveillance operations, we suspect there's no intelligence operation in the world still relying on birds to gather info. But they continue to get accused of spying, the poor things, when really they're just trying to find lunch or a place to sit. History shows us that birds are rarely ever the spies they're accused of being. 

In July, Turkish officials were forced to release a kestrel after tests showed it was not a spy sent by Israel. Yes, you read that correctly. Villagers in Altinavya captured the small bird and noticed it had a metal ring with "24311 Tel Avivunia Israel," inscribed on part of it. After the bird was turned over to authorities for X-rays, they discovered the bird was just a regular bird. 

Stop harassing the birds, everyone. Feed them some bread instead.  

[Pictured: some suspicious looking swans, in Turkey, probably gathering classified information.]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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