The bald eagle found floundering in Rock Creek and fished out of the water at the Maryland Yacht Club in September was shot. Officials knew the eagle was suffering from lead poisoning. They didn’t realize the bird had been shot until it died three days later. That’s when they found the pellets.
Maryland Natural Resources Police are now looking for the shooter.
Ernie Jenkins heard splashing when he was opening he fuel dock and found the 5-year-old male eagle swimming through the water in Pasadena, unable to take flight. Earnie scooped him out with a net and called Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.
Blood tests found a very high lead level. Later, they found two pellets about the thickness of a quarter embedded in the eagle’s right lung. The same sized birdshot used to shoot doves and quail.
While bald eagles are no longer endangered, it’s still illegal to shoot them without a state permit.
The shooter could face a $5,000 one and up to a year in prison. If they find the person.
Maryland has about 500 nesting eagle pairs throughout the state, at least one pair in every county.