Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

The driver of a semi truck hit and killed a bald eagle in Lee County. Here’s what to do if it happens to you

Brad VidmarThe Hawk Eye0:161:00

LEE COUNTY — The Lee County Sheriff’s Office wants people to know that drivers who hit bald eagles need to notify authorities after a semi truck driver hit and killed one on Monday. 

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. when Lee County deputies were called to 320th Street on Highway 27, near Argyle, for a single-vehicle accident.

When deputies arrived, they found the driver of a semi truck who had hit and killed a bald eagle. 

The driver told deputies he was heading northbound on Iowa 27 when the eagle came up from the shoulder of the road and struck the truck’s windshield, causing it to crack and cave in.  

According to Lee County Deputy Jordan Maag, the driver seemed shaken up by the accident but was uninjured. The truck had no other damages besides the windshield and was driven away from the scene of the accident. The driver was not charged or fined.

The deputies at the scene were able to locate the dead eagle by the side of the road. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources was contacted to dispose of the eagle, but, according to Maag, an officer was unavailable and a county conservation officer came to the dispose of the eagle instead. 

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This isn’t the first time a bald eagle has been killed in an automobile accident in Lee County. 

According to Maag, there have been at least three or four similar incidents in Lee County within the past five years.   

“It’s rare,” Maag said. “Usually it’s a turkey or turkey vulture instead of a bald eagle. But it does happen, obviously.”

It’s also important to remember that bald eagles are not like other birds. While bald eagles no longer are considered an endangered species, they remain protected under multiple federal laws and regulations.     

According to the Iowa DNR, bald eagles are protected by several federal laws, with the penalties for the killing of an eagle ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000 (depending on the individual circumstances, whether or not it was a repeat offense and if the bird was killed by an individual or on behalf of a business or organization) and up two years in prison.  

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It is also illegal for individuals to keep eagle feathers and other parts (such as feet, egg shells, etc.) without a federal permit. State, tribal and other permits may be needed and penalties can range anywhere from $250 to $500,000 and up to five years in prison (again, all depending on individual circumstances, number of offenses and if the offense was carried out by an individual or a business or organization).  

In 2014, an Iowan who captured and killed a bald eagle in rural Keokuk County in March 2011 was sentenced in federal court to 60 days imprisonment, one year of supervised release, a $2,000 fine, a $25 payment to the Crime Victim Fund, 80 hours of community service and was restricted from doing any hunting.

While it may not be necessary for car accidents involving other types of birds, anyone in an automobile accident involving a bald eagle, or anyone who simply finds a dead bald eagle, needs to call authorities so they can notify the proper wildlife conservation authorities, Maag said.

In accordance with federal law, once a dead bald eagle is confiscated by those authorities, they typically are taken to a depository with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then sent to the National Eagle Repository in Colorado where it is categorized and then provided to Native Americans for tribal rituals, according to Shawn Meier, captain of the southeastern district of the Iowa DNR.

Meier also noted that injured bald eagles are taken to wildlife rehabilitation facilities and that an individual who simply neglects to report a dead bald eagle isn’t likely to face fines and penalties if they did not cause the bird’s death.  

If you do find a dead bald eagle and cannot contact the authorities for whatever reason, at the very least, Meier advised for people to leave the dead birds alone.

‘A tough bird.’ Rescued eagle in Raleigh fights to stay alive after lead poisoning

BY JULIAN SHEN-BERROMARCH 17, 2021 06:15 AM, UPDATED MARCH 17, 2021 08:48 AM

Play VideoDuration 0:40’We live for this’: Raleigh officer rescues injured bald eagleRaleigh Animal Control Officer Kostka had a memorable day at work Mar. 12, 2021, when he was able to help an injured bald eagle on the off-ramp at Interstate 540 and Aviation Parkway. Our media partner ABC11 News caught up to Kostka to hear from him. BY ABC11

When a rescued bald eagle was brought to American Wildlife Refuge in Raleigh — dazed and unable to fly — he was given about a 20% chance of survival.

After being diagnosed for lead poisoning and starting to receive treatment, that chance is now around 55%, said Steve Stone, the director of animal care at the refuge.

He’s now called Airie, and Stone said his chances of a full recovery remain uncertain. Questions persist about whether he will survive the initial lead poisoning, and whether he will ever be able to return to the wild.

The treatment is helping. Tuesday marked the first day Airie was able to eat the food placed before him without assistance. The eagle had been starving to death when he was rescued, Stone said.

“Even though he’s still alive, it’s touch and go,” Stone said. “Every single thing he does is a good thing, because it means he’s still alive.”

He’s “a tough bird,” he said.


Airie most likely consumed the lead that made its way into his blood, Stone said. The refuge has treated four other bald eagles for lead poisoning in the past year.

Stone said a measurement of 10 to 20 parts per million of lead present in the blood indicates a high lead content in need of treatment. Airie tested over 50 parts per million.

As a bird of prey, eagles usually encounter lead in the animal remains left by hunters and fishermen.

Stone pointed to “gut piles,” the intestines left behind by hunters after they remove them from kills. They’re often laced with the lead that splinters when a lead bullet hits the animal. He added that an eagle also might ingest a fishing sinker, a weight typically made of lead that’s attached to a lure, while hunting fish.

The American Eagle Foundation reports that lead poisoning is “a leading concern” for many bird species, including eagles, with millions affected annually.

The effects of lead poisoning can be fatal, and can cause loss of balance, gasping, tremors and an impaired ability to fly, according to the foundation.

The refuge has been treating Airie with Calcium EDTA, a medication that reacts with the lead in his blood to turn it into something harmless. But too much of the medication can also be dangerous, Stone said.

It’s “a poison to kill another poison,” he said, comparing it to chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.

Still, he said he has seen birds with less lead content than Airie who couldn’t even stand up.


Stone expects Airie’s recovery to take months, and it will take time to identify whether he has suffered permanent brain damage.

If he does have permanent damage, which could prevent him from ever returning to the wild, Stone said his future is “pretty grim.”

His future will be determined by the U.S. Department of Interior, which manages wildlife refuges, according to Stone. Under current laws, there are few facilities with enough funding to adequately house bald eagles long-term.

“Right now, there are eagles that are hurt that are waiting for somebody to have enough space in their area,” he said. “When we get an eagle that has a broken wing and will never be able to fly again, the federal government tells us we have to euthanize it.”

Stone said the refuge will learn more about Airie’s condition Thursday after he completes the first five-day cycle of treatment. At that point, he may stay with the refuge for another cycle of the treatment, or he may be transferred to a large rehabilitation center that’s better equipped to house him — like the Cape Fear Raptor Center in Wilmington.

It’s one of two centers in the state that has enough space and the right permit to rehabilitate eagles, Stone said. AWR does not currently have enough land to provide a 100-foot flight cage for its birds, he added.

Conservation groups have for years advocated for a ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackles — legal changes that they say would prevent other birds from experiencing the kind of poisoning that Airie has.

But in 2017, then-U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke overturned an Obama administration ban on their use on federal lands and waters. The ban had been issued one day before former President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Until the law changes, Stone says eagles will continue to suffer from lead poisoning.

“This is not a first-time thing,” he said. “This has pretty much become the routine, and will be the routine until that law comes to be.”

And while Airie is resilient, Stone said, other birds haven’t made it.

“They are pretty amazing animals,” he said. “They’re tough, but they are just animals. Just like we are.”

Airie, a rescued bald eagle, is currently recovering at the American Wildlife Refuge in Raleigh. COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN WILDLIFE REFUGE

Julian Shen-Berro is a breaking news reporter at The News & Observer.

Severed Feet of Bald Eagles Found in Minnesota, With Talons Removed From Each Toe

Aatif Sulleyman  6 hrs ago

Great Lakes Brewing’s barrel-aged Christmas Ale, Hoppin’ Frog awards…Starmer Won’t Let Corbyn Sit as U.K. Labour MP Over Racism RowSevered Feet of Bald Eagles Found in Minnesota, With Talons Removed From Each Toe

Investigators are appealing for help after the severed feet of eight raptors were found dumped by the side of a residential street in Minnesota.a bird flying over a body of water: An American bald eagle carries a freshly caught fish at Mill Pond on August 10, 2018 in Centerport, New York. The severed feet of eight raptors, including four bald eagles, have been found in Woodbury, Minnesota.© Bruce Bennett/Getty Images An American bald eagle carries a freshly caught fish at Mill Pond on August 10, 2018 in Centerport, New York. The severed feet of eight raptors, including four bald eagles, have been found in Woodbury, Minnesota.

All 16 feet were missing their talons, which investigators suspect may have been taken to make jewelry.

Raptors are protected by federal law and four of the eight pairs have been identified as the feet of bald eagles, the national bird of the U.S.

A forensic examination is under way to seek more evidence, but investigators believe the birds’ bodies have been sold.

“A lucrative commercial market exists in raptor parts,” said Patrick Lund, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent. “We believe the talons from the raptor feet may have been used to make jewelry for commercial sale.”Play VideoBald Eagle Lands On 9/11 TributeClick to expand

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The feet were discovered on Thursday, November 12, in tall grass just off the sidewalk of Cherry Lane, in a residential area close to the city of Woodbury.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

Bald eagles were listed as an endangered species in 1967, having come close to being wiped out in the U.S. by hunting, habitat destruction and the use of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). The substance affected the structure of many birds’ egg shells, making them too thin or brittle to protect their offspring.

The protections afforded by endangered status, reintroduction programmes and the banning of DDT in 1972 helped eagle populations to recover. In 2007 the bald eagle was removed from the U.S. endangered and threatened wildlife list. Earlier this year, a bald eagle nest with eggs was discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years.

“It’s fitting that our national symbol has also become a symbol of the great things that happen through cooperative conservation,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in 2007.

The maximum penalty for the unlawful capture or possession of a bald eagle or bald eagle parts is one-year imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits the commercial trapping and killing of the birds, a second offense would be classifiable as a felony.

Bald eagle in Michigan takes down and destroys a government drone

  • Michigan government workers were doing a survey of shoreline erosion on Lake Michigan when a bald eagle attacked and took down their drone.
  • The drone splashed down in Lake Michigan and hasn’t been recovered after reportedly landing in roughly four feet of water. 
  • The state plans on replacing the drone with a newer, more advanced model, but that won’t necessarily mean it can stand up to an eagle attack. 

We’ve all heard plenty about how nature is making a comeback in various ways since so many humans have been isolating the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a small silver lining of this whole crappy situation, but in Michigan, it seems that at least some of the wildlife is now actively pushing back against human interference, and it’s kind of amazing.



The drone is a pricey piece of equipment, with a price tag of around $1,000. That didn’t matter to the bird of prey. It’s unclear exactly why the eagle attacked the tiny aircraft, but the damage reportedly included “tearing off a propeller and sending the aircraft to the bottom of Lake Michigan,” the department said. “The attack could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle.”

Whatever the case, the bird didn’t seem to have much trouble hunting the drone, which was traveling at 22 mph when it was attacked. Department employees attempted to recover the drone, which landed roughly 150 offshore, but their attempts were unsuccessful. At a depth of around four feet, the water in that specific area of the lake was just too deep for searchers to spot the defunct device, even with snorkel gear.

This is hardly the first time a bird has been documented attacking a drone-like aircraft, and hobbyists have been dealing with the risks of flying their devices in areas where large birds are present. Nevertheless, losing the pricey drone isn’t great news for the folks trying to monitor the shoreline of the lake.

The one upside, according to the report, is that the department considered the drone “obsolete” at this point due to its age and are planning on replacing it with a newer and more advanced model. That’s great and all, but we’ll have to see what Mr. Bald Eagle has to say about it. I might be writing this same story again in a month when another drone ends up at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Time will tell.

Bald eagle dies after hunter mistakes it for goose

Bald Eagle

Cory Morse |

A bald eagle at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids on Friday, March 8, 2019. (Cory Morse |

UPDATE: 2 Michigan hunters confess to killing bald eagle in Manistee

MANISTEE, MI – A bald eagle was shot and later died after a waterfowl hunter mistook it for a goose over the weekend.

The 2-year-old eagle was in the care of Wings of Wonder in Empire when it had to be euthanized on Monday, Oct. 7, because of the severity of its injuries, said Wings of Wonder Executive Director Rebecca Lessard. Both its wings were fractured, and it had multiple gun pellet wounds.

The eagle was shot and checked in at Wings of Wonder on Saturday, Oct. 5.

“The hunter said the sun was in his eyes and thought it was a goose,” Lessard said. “He might as well have said it was a flying cat. … She was just cruising the river looking for a meal and got shot. It’s so preventable; she didn’t need to die.”

Being a juvenile, the eagle did not yet have the iconic white head that would have made it more distinct from a goose. Eagles get their white head when they reach sexual maturity at age 5 and usually raise their first clutch at age 6.

Lessard suspects the bird was a female based on its weight and the large size of its feet. White specks on its head suggest its 2 years old, which means it survived at least one winter, she said.

About 75 percent of raptors in Michigan die during their first winter, usually due to starvation, Lessard said. That she survived and was a healthy weight means she was a good hunter.

“Those are more serious cases because she would have been a good breeding bird in the state,” she said.

X-rays showed several fractures and one shattered bone in the eagle’s left wing along with five pellets, Lessard said. There was one broken bone and one pellet in the right wing.

Although the bird of prey, considered an American symbol, is no longer on the endangered species list, it is illegal to shoot them in the United States.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is investigating the case and sent it to a prosecutor for review. A first-time offender can face a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in jail for shooting a bald eagle.

The eagle has been tagged and frozen as evidence in the DNR investigation, Lessard said. The X-rays and veterinarian’s notes are also saved for the investigators.

The DNR did not immediately respond to a request for a photo.

Cops searching for hunter who gunned down bald eagle

A shooter gunned down a bald eagle in Pennsylvania and could face heavy fines and years in prison for the offense, authorities said.

A state game warden found the mature eagle shot Thursday night near Hope Cemetery in Elk Creek Township, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in a statement posted to Facebook.

While the bird of prey — heralded since 1782 as the national emblem of the United States — was removed from the endangered species list in 2007, it’s still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. Various state and municipal laws also protect it.

Killing, selling or possessing a bald eagle without a permit can carry fines of up to thousands of dollars and two years behind bars.

Despite the bald eagle’s revered status, it has been one of the most persecuted birds in the country, the Gaming Commission said on its website.

“Early publications accused bald eagles of preying upon game and farm animals and they were routinely shot on sight,” the commission said. “Even respected ornithologists and naturalists voiced their negative assessments of the character and value of eagles.”

The bird ended up on the endangered list largely because of the pesticide DDT, which caused its population to rapidly decline in the first half of the 20th century. DDT was not banned until 1972.

Today, the birds are vulnerable to cars, power lines and poisons like lead and rodenticide, Crystal Slusher of the American Eagle Foundation told CNN.

It’s puzzling why anyone would want to shoot the national bird, she told the outlet.

“It’s a prominent symbol of the United States, and laws were passed to protect it,” Slusher said. “It once faced an inevitable destruction, and seeing it being shot for no reason doesn’t make sense.”

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northwest Region Office at 814-432-3187 or the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001.

Hiker Found Guilty In Alaska In Tripping Traps That Killed Bald Eagle and Endangered Hikers

trapped-eagle-e1441350775692-930x699There is a bizarre case out of Alaska where hiker Kathleen Turley (no relation despite our shared name and mutual love for hiking) was found liable for springing traps John Forrest’s near a hiking path. The Juneau native insisted that she encountered the traps when it caught a bald eagle that she rescued from the trap. She tripped other traps to protect fellow hikers and her dog. However, the court found that that was no defense and that, under Alaskan law, she is liable.

It is bizarre for many of us that state law allows, let along protects, trap hunting — particularly near hiking areas. Yet, John Forrest sued Turley for hindering his trapping. The court however did not award damages despite Forrest’s initial demand for $5,000 (later reduced to between $1,000 and $1,200).

Forrest’s lawyers said they sued to teach Turley a lesson, who they said was “unapologetic” about springing traps. However, Turley had a plausible explanation. She said that Forrest baited the first trap with an entire beaver carcass in an effort to get a wolverine. The eagle had to be later euthanized after she carried it to get medical attention.

She said that she decided to spring the other traps to protect her dog and nearby hikers. A wildlife officer gave her a citation for springing the traps in violation to state law.

It is a surprise that Forrest can bait traps and kill a bald eagle without repercussions. It is equally bizarre that the state allows people to set traps near this trail or any trail. This year, illegally set traps led to police warnings to hikers and dog walkers.

Judge Thomas Nave asked the public not to judge him given his verdict: “When you read it, no matter who you are, please keep in mind that it will represent what the law requires. It will not represent any notions of approval or disapproval on my part… It will be a strict application of the law.”

That brings up the state law and the obvious need for reform. That law reads as follows:

AS 16.05.790. Obstruction or Hindrance of Lawful Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, or Viewing of Fish or Game.

(a) Except as provided in (e) of this section, a person may not intentionally obstruct or hinder another person’s lawful hunting, fishing, trapping, or viewing of fish or game by
(1) placing one’s self in a location in which human presence may alter the
(A) behavior of the fish or game that another person is attempting to take or view; or
(B) feasibility of taking or viewing fish or game by another person; or
(2) creating a visual, aural, olfactory, or physical stimulus in order to alter the behavior of the fish or game that another person is attempting to take or view.

First there is a legitimate question of why to allow trapping in areas with hikers. I may be wrong but I assume that the number of hikers is far greater than trappers in these areas. There is also the question of baiting traps that endanger bald eagles. Finally, there is the question of why the statute lacks a defense (or definition of intent) to excuse the tripping of traps to protect nearby hikers.

What do you think?

Hiker Found Guilty In Alaska In Tripping Traps That Killed Bald Eagle and Endangered Hikers

Toxic animal carcass may have led to fatal eagle poisonings

A euthanized farm animal that was improperly disposed of could be the reason behind several eagle deaths on Vancouver Island.

Christina StevensWeekend Anchor & Online Reporter


Published Monday, January 21, 2019 5:46PM PST 
Last Updated Monday, January 21, 2019 7:59PM PST

Warning: This story contains graphic images.

Wildlife officials are hopeful they have identified the source of the poison that has killed six bald eagles on Vancouver Island, and left another half-dozen very sick.

Investigators have theorized that someone euthanized a farm animal and did not dispose of the carcass properly, leading to eagles eating the poisonous remains.

“It’s a tragic situation, obviously, that we are are not happy about. We want to get to the bottom of it,” said Sgt. Scott Norris of the BC Conservation Officer Service.

The service believes it has found the remains in question and is doing toxicology tests on pieces of evidence to see if there is a match to what has been detected in the dead eagles.

Depending on the results, charges are not out of the question.

“Part of the investigation is determining facts and cause and people responsible and there’s a number of different charges that could come out of this. There’s also a number of different results that could come from it, there might not be charges, there could be recommendations for handling different compounds,” explained Norris.

Two birds were reported to The Raptor Rescue Society on January 16th, but it wasn’t until the society was made aware of two more eagles on Saturday the scope of the problem started to become evident.

That’s when staff and volunteers headed out to search an area in North Cowichan.

eagles poisoning

They found even more sick and dead birds, and rushed those still alive to the VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital in Nanaimo, where Dr. Ken Langelier and his staff nursed six eagles back to health.

He said being able to save the eagles was rewarding, but the situation is still frustrating.

“Again, it’s humans that were involved with the poisoning in the first place,” said Langelier.

Experts say poisonings of this type are rare.

The last time Langelier remembers it happening was back in 1988, when 29 eagles were poisoned after scavenging on a dead farm animal. Three of the birds died and Langelier helped 26 recover.

He said he’s disappointed it has happened again, but there has been a lot of support.

“One of the heartening things about this is really the number of people that have reached out to look for birds. They’re very, very concerned because everyone loves birds and eagles and I think are discouraged when they know that some of them are suffering because of things we’ve done,” said Langelier.

Prevention is also top of mind for Norris.

“We’ve got our team on it and we’re going to hopefully get the right information here and make sure that information gets out so something like this doesn’t happen again in the future.”