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January 10, 2014

Montgomery County Resident Offers $1,000 Reward through NRP for Leads in Bald Eagle Killing

by kking
Photo by Jan Master

Photo by Jan Master

A Montgomery County resident disturbed by the killing of a bald eagle near his home on Christmas Day is offering a $1,000 reward through the Maryland Natural Resources Police for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

The citizen, who has asked to remain anonymous, said he saw his first bald eagle in Montgomery County soaring over the Patuxent River the day before one was found dead in a field in Brookeville.

“I went home, got my camera and got some wonderful pictures,” the resident wrote in a letter to NRP. “I hope it wasn’t the one killed.”

X-rays showed the bird was shot with a rifle. It had been feeding on a deer carcass in a field that adjoins Georgia Avenue and Bordly Drive.

A second eagle was shot three days later ─ on Dec. 28 ─ near a residence on Deakins Lane in Darnestown. The bird was alive but later died of its injuries. An x-ray showed it had been hit by bird shot.

NRP investigators are following up on leads in both cases.

Anyone with information on the Brookeville shooting is asked to call the NRP catch-a-poacher hotline at 1-800-635-6124. Tips on the Darnestown shooting can be called in to the Department of Natural Resources Communications Center at 410-260-8888.

Bald eagles are currently in their active courtship period. Eagles along the upper Chesapeake Bay and inland lay eggs in late February or early March that hatch in April.

In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act, and Maryland followed suit in 2010. But it is illegal to shoot eagles without a permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior. A conviction carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to a one year in prison.

Maryland has more than 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles, at least one pair in every county.

Candy Thomson
Natural Resources Police
Public Information Officer
office: 410-260-8893 cell: 410-279-3916
cthomson@dnr.state.md.us
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