Similarly, in May of 2012 a dead common European bee-eater was suspected of engaging in espionage by Turkish locals because of an Israel stamped anklet -- the locals reportedly called the local police after deciding the bird's nostrils were unusually large and might carry microchip for Israeli surveillance. An official at the Turkish agricultural ministry reportedly told the BBC, "it took some effort to persuade local police that the little bee-eater posed no threat to national security."
In December 2012, Sudanese officials reportedly said they had discovered an Israeli secret agent that was a vulture. They claimed the bird was fitted with GPS and solar-powered equipment capable of broadcasting images via satellite. Israeli officials acknowledged the bird had been tagged with Israeli equipment but insisted it was being used to study migration patterns, not spy on Sudan. Feathers were also ruffled in Saudi Arabia in 2011 by an endangered griffon vulture because its wildlife tracking GPS transmitter bore the name of Tel Aviv University.
And not to be left out, Iranian authorities claimed to have detained not one, but two, spy pigeons near the country's nuclear processing plants in 2008.
While it seems unlikely that any of these specific birds were engaged in surveillance, the Iranian case seems the most plausible because pigeons have actually been deployed in surveillance capacities before -- most notably through the use of pigeon cameras to spy on military bases in the First and Second World Wars.