Alison Capo of Fredericksburg said her daughter, Skylar, 11, saved the bird from a cat in her father's backyard and she agreed to take the bird home to make sure it was not seriously injured, WUSA-TV, Washington, reported Tuesday.
Capo said she and Skylar stopped at a Lowe's on the way home and brought the bird into the home improvement store because of the heat. She said a woman inside the store confronted her and identified herself as an officer with the Virginia Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Capo said the woman told her taking or transporting the baby woodpecker is illegal because the species is protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act.
The mother said she released the bird as soon as she arrived home and reported the incident to the department, but she encountered the same woman about two weeks later when she showed up at her front door with a Virginia State Police trooper.
Capo said she was fined $535 and cited for unlawfully taking a migratory bird, which can carry a jail sentence of up to a year.
"I feel harassed and I feel angry," Capo said.