Feds end ea­gle death in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Dorchester Star - - News - By JOSH BOLLINGER jbollinger@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ jbol­l_s­tar­dem.

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.

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