10/26/2014 – Maryland Natural Resources Police investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who shot a bald eagle in Pasadena last month that later died.
The eagle was discovered struggling in Rock Creek on Sept. 21 by an employee of the Maryland Yacht Club. Ernie Jenkins used a net to scoop the bird from the water and called Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, but wildlife rehabilitators were unable to save the eagle, which died three days later.
Blood tests indicated a very high level of lead and an x-ray showed two pellets embedded in the eagle’s body, a 5-year-old male weighing almost seven pounds. Tri-State notified federal authorities and Dr. Cindy Driscoll, the state wildlife veterinarian.
A necropsy by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine confirmed that two pellets about the thickness of a quarter were embedded in the eagle’s right lung and that it suffered from pulmonary edema. The pellets are the same size as No. 7 birdshot used to shoot doves or quail.
The bald eagle was under protection of the Endangered Species Act until 2007. It was taken off Maryland’s endangered species list three years later. But it remains illegal to shoot eagles without a permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior. A conviction carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to one year in prison.
As a result of conservation efforts, Maryland has more than 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles, at least one pair in every county.
Anyone with information is asked to call Natural Resources Police Communications Center at 410-260-8888. A reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction is possible.