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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A mockingbird gobbled hundreds of rare butterflies in a zoo exhibit over two weeks while evading attempts to catch it.

The bird apparently entered the Indianapolis Zoo's conservatory through a vent or window. The exhibit had about 1,500 butterflies and was due to close Labor Day.

The lost butterflies were worth about $1,000. Brilliant neon butterflies called blue morphos were especially hard hit.

The bird hid in the 65-foot-tall conservatory until late July, when zoo staff members soaked it with a hose and finally caught it in a net.

``You can't blame the bird. He was doing what came naturally,'' zoo gardener Susan Micks said.

The bird was released ``far, far away,'' zoo spokeswoman Judy Gagen said.