Flown the Coop

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Four years ago, after a violent storm, Pati Mattrick found three baby birds that had fallen from their nest. Two were dead, and one was barely alive. Animal experts told Mattrick it wouldn't last three days. But she nursed the house finch back to health and raised it as a pet. She says the bird gave her comfort when a disease left her disabled and unable to work. But after Pennsylvania wildlife officials read a newspaper story on Mattrick, they seized the bird, saying that possessing a wild bird is a violation of state and federal law.