An Oxnard man accused of shooting a horned owl outside his apartment last month pleaded guilty Monday to taking the non-game bird.
Ventura County Municipal Judge Herbert Curtis III ordered Javier Valdivia, 32, to pay fines and fees totaling $265 by March 1.
Just before midnight on Dec. 12, Valdivia fired seven shots at the owl, which was perched on a tree outside his home on Almond Drive, sheriff's investigators said. They said he told them that he shot it because he thought that the bird would bring bad luck.
But after his court appearance Monday, Valdivia said he was simply trying to get rid of a noisy bird. He resorted to a .22-caliber rifle, he said, after throwing a few rocks that failed to ruffle the four-pound owl.
A neighbor reported the gunfire, and when deputies arrived the owl was still breathing. But one of the bullets had shattered a wing bone, leaving the bird permanently unable to fly, so a veterinarian put it to death.
At the time, Valdivia said, he thought that what he did was no different from hunting. But now, he said, "I feel very bad. I'll never shoot an animal again."