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By Mike Scott
Two Bald Eagles were found dead in northeast Missouri last week.
“It appears they are both from natural causes,” explained Lt. Chris Grote of the Missouri Department of Conservation. “It does not look like either one was shot.”
Grote said the when eagles dive on their prey, they’re so focused that they can fly into a tree or power line or other obstruction. At those speeds, the impact can be fatal.
One of the eagles was recovered in Knox County, and the other in Scotland County.
“It is not uncommon for agents in the field to receive calls of injured/dead or nuisance eagles. In my district, Adair, Sullivan, Putnam, Schuyler/Scotland, and Clark county, there have been six calls concerning sick/ injured or nuisance eagle calls in 2021. Remember we are only in February,” Grote said.
The frozen birds will be taken to the Missouri Department of Conservation Northeast Regional Office in Kirksville.
“After I have thawed and inspected these two birds, and ensured they are not evidence of a crime, I will contact the repository in Colorado. They will send shipping boxes to me at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Northeast Regional Office in Kirksville. The birds will then be shipped to and held by the repository,” Grote explained.
According to their website, the National Eagle Repository is a “one of a kind facility, operated and managed by the Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is located at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Denver, Colorado. Its purpose is to:
-Receive, inventory, store, and dispose of confiscated wildlife property ensuring 100% accountability,
-Receive, evaluate, store and distribute dead bald and golden eagles, parts, and feathers to Native Americans who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes throughout the United States,
-Develop and provide educational programs regarding wildlife trade, wildlife laws, endangered species, raptors and the Native American eagle feather program.”
“The killing of a bald eagle is a federal offense, and a case of this nature would generally be conducted by Conservation Agents in conjunction with federal officers,” Grote said.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) list the penalties as:
Penalties associated with violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act the first criminal offense is a misdemeanor with maximum penalty of one year in prison and $100,000 fine for an individual ($200,000 for an organization). The second offense becomes a felony with maximum penalty of two years in prison and $250,000 fine for individual ($500,000 for an “organization” such as a business). The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act also provides for maximum civil penalties of $5,000 for each violation.
“I would ask anyone who finds or witnesses the disturbance or killing of a bald eagle to contact their local Conservation Agent or the Regional Office at 660-785-2420. Community members can also find phone numbers for your local Agents in the deer brochure or at mdc. mo.gov,” Grote added.
“Please never hesitate to contact your local Conservation Agent with any questions or concerns regarding any wildlife. The community’s involvement and cooperation are a large part of the success of the Missouri Conservation Agent.