Feds end eagle death investigation
FEDERALSBURG — Federal officials have ended the investigation into the deaths of 13 bald eagles found on a Federalsburg farm earlier this year.
Four of the 13 dead bald eagles were found Saturday, Feb. 20, on a farm off Laurel Grove Road in Federalsburg, by a man who was looking for shed deer antlers. The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) received the call and responded to the farm, where they found nine more dead bald eagles.
The 13 dead eagles were the most deaths attributed to a single incident in Maryland in more than 30 years, according to the NRP. At the time of the incident, officials suspected they may have been poisoned, as none of them appeared to have experienced physical trauma and weren’t shot. The birds were taken to a forensics laboratory in Oregon for investigation.
The next month in March, five more bald eagles were found dead in Sussex County, Del.
Neil Mendelsohn, regional assistant special agent in charge for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said in a statement last week that the high level of concern and response from the public over the eagle death investigations are greatly appreciated.
“Although we conducted a very thorough investigation into the Maryland eagle poisonings, we are intending to close the case in the near future due to a lack of evidence linking anyone to the crime,” Mendelsohn said in the statement. “In Delaware, our investigation is still ongoing, so we can’t provide additional information at this time.”
Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is still responsible for protecting bald eagles under to other laws — the Migratory Bird Treat Act and the Gold Eagle Protection Act.
Multiple organizations came forwarded when the 13 bald eagles were found dead in Federalsburg to offer a reward for any information that led to an arrest and conviction in the case.
The Center for Biological Diversity offered up to $15,000. The pledge, along with contributions from the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, the Phoenix Wildlife Center Inc. and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, pushed the total reward to $25,000.
Federal officials have ended an investigation into the deaths of 13 bald eagles, including the one pictured here, found on a Federalsburg farm in February.