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Attorney: Farmer 'snapped' and destroyed pelicans

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The attorney for a Minnesota farmer accused of destroying thousands of protected pelican chicks and eggs says the defendant "flipped out" because the birds were damaging his land.

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Craig Staloch made his first appearance in federal court Thursday. Staloch's attorney, Jason Kohlmeyer, says the American White pelicans cost the farmer $20,000 in expenses and lost revenue over the past three years.

Staloch is accused of smashing more than 3,000 nests, eggs and chicks on farmland he rents on the shores of Minnesota Lake. Minnesota is the summer home to about 20,000 pairs of pelicans, more than any other state. The birds were once nearly extinct, but have made a comeback since the 1960s.

The Star Tribune says (http://bit.ly/njkwXR ) a federal magistrate set a trial date of Nov. 28.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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