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A bald eagle in flight at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tom Koerner, USFWS.

$2,500 reward for information involving bald eagle shooting in Warren county

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are investigating the shooting of a mature bald eagle on Faulkner Quarter Road near Wise, North Carolina, in Warren County.  A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing the eagle.

The eagle was discovered on March 20, 2011.  An examination by Dr. David Conde, West Hills Veterinary Clinic, in Henderson, North Carolina, determined that the eagle was shot, and had a broken wing. Despite being treated for its injuries, the eagle died on March 28, 2011.

“Because the eagle was found along a traveled roadway, someone may have seen or heard something that will help in our investigation. We are hoping that anyone with information on who is responsible for shooting the eagle will step forward and provide information that will help us solve this case,” said Sandra Allred, a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

“As with many instances regarding the conservation and use of our natural resources, the illegal actions of one selfish individual can have the potential to hurt the interests of the majority of people who respect our resources. The bald eagle is a symbol of our country, and we will vigorously pursue those who kill or injure our Nation’s symbol,” Allred continued. 

Anyone with information concerning the shooting of this eagle is asked to call Special Agent Allred at 919-856-4786, or North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Richard Creech at 252-886-3614 or 252-438-3428.

Bald eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes.  Violations of these statutes carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 per person and up to one year federal imprisonment. 

Bald eagles historically occurred throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  It typically takes four or five years for bald eagles to mature, but many do not start breeding until they are much older.  They may live 15 to 25 years in the wild.  Bald eagles are large raptors with typical wingspans of about six to eight feet. Mature eagles have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak.  A pair of bald eagles typically mates for life and builds a huge nest in the tops of trees near rivers, lakes, and marshes. Nests are often reused each year, and with the additions to the nests made annually, nests are often four to six feet wide and may weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

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